With the aim to expand business in the mobile financial services (MFS) market, United Commercial Bank (UCB) is planning to set up a separate subsidiary named "upay" replacing the existing "Ucash".
upay will debut by this month and will be the second subsidiary the bank is going to set up through United Fintech Company Limited after bKash.
UCB is the sole owner of upay while bKash has multiple investors.
Currently, Ucash is being operated for providing MFS as a product of the bank, said a senior executive of UCB.
After forming the subsidiary, the MFS platform will be a completely separate company with a separate CEO and board, he said.
The restarting of MFS as a separate company will allow existing customers to get more services.
For instance, existing Ucash customers can access mobile money transactions through USSD, the primary mechanism for communication between customers and their mobile payment platform, but the new platform will allow them to use a mobile app.
Officials said UCB's existing MFS brand Ucash will be replaced by upay while Ucash customers will be migrated to the new platform and they will enjoy all kinds of services.
Launched in 2013, Ucash is currently serving more than a million customers.
The Bangladesh Bank earlier in December awarded a MFS licence to UCB Fintech Company, the subsidiary of UCB which wants to tap into the growing MFS market dominated by the Brac Bank subsidiary bKash.
Sydul Haque Khandaker, managing director of UCB Fintech, said, "We have taken all preparations to launch the service by March. This is a fresh start with a commitment to making customers' journey of availing financial services simple, secure, and convenient."
Built using the cutting-edge blockchain technology by the in-house technology team, the platform will provide a greater sense of security and confidence to customers, he said.
With a nationwide presence of agent and merchant networks, initial upay products include mobile transactions, utility bill payments, in-store and e-commerce payments, inward remittances, salary disbursements, airtime recharge, Indian visa fee payments, and traffic prosecution fine payments.
In addition to USSD, customers will also be able to transact through a mobile app.
Company officials said banking on the success of Ucash, which offers many unique services, including traffic prosecution fine payments and Indian visa fee payments, UCB decided to form a subsidiary to widen its products and services.
They said they were thankful to the Bangladesh Bank for granting them the MFS licence to provide services under the MFS regulations 2018, adding that regulatory compliance would be their topmost priority to ensure customer safety as well as trust in their services.