The mobile banking charge for cashing out Tk1,000 has been fixed at Tk4 for workers of export-oriented industries, under the Tk5,000-crore incentive package announced to help the sector pay wages to its employees.
In a circular issued on Thursday, the Bangladesh Bank reduced the cost of mobile banking so that workers can withdraw their salaries at a cheaper rate.
Currently, bKash, the largest mobile banking service operator in Bangladesh, charges customers 1.85 percent or Tk18.5 for cashing out Tk1,000.
The Bangladesh Bank has asked all mobile banking operators in the country to charge 0.8 percent or Tk8 for cashing out Tk1,000. Of the charged amount, Tk4 will be paid by the respective banks and the rest will be borne by beneficiaries, according to the circular.
"Remaining amount of the service charge has to be subsidised by respective mobile financial services [MFS] as per the instruction of the central bank," said Shamsuddin Haider Dalim, head of corporate communications at bKash.
So, bKash will have to subsidise Tk10.5 every time a customer withdraws Tk1,000.
"This will cause huge losses for bKash as it is the largest MFS provider and has recently opened the highest number of accounts for channelling workers' salaries amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic," Dalim added.
Rocket, another local MFS provider and a subsidiary of the Dutch-Bangla Bank, charges Tk9 for cashing out Tk1,000. Nagad, which recently got a license for mobile banking from the Bangladesh Bank, charges Tk14.5 per Tk1,000 for the same service.
On March 25, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared a stimulus package worth Tk5,000 crore so that export-oriented industries could pay their workers. On April 2, the central bank issued a guideline to disburse the amount as a soft loan to factory owners at 2 percent service charge.
To avail the loans, the factories have to apply before April 26 to the banks through which they conduct their export business.
During the last two weeks, the three largest MFS providers in the country have opened around 26 lakh mobile accounts for channelling workers' salaries.