Transactions through the mobile financial services hit a record high in July, as people are progressively warming up to the utility of digital payment amid the health risks posed by the highly contagious coronavirus.
In July, Tk62,999 crore was transacted through the platform, up a staggering 68.1% from a year earlier and 40.5% from a month earlier, according to data from the Bangladesh Bank.
Eid-ul-Azha, the second biggest religious festival in the country, was one of the reasons for the highest volume of transactions in a month, according to Shamsuddin Haider Dalim, head of corporate communications and public relations at bKash, the market leader.
The festival took place on August 1.
Eid shoppers preferred to pay through their mobile wallet, while garment and other industries' employees got their salaries and bonus through the platform, he added.
Coronavirus is played an important role in pushing shoppers to get onboard the digital platform, said Tanvir Ahmed Mishuk, managing director of Nagad, the fastest growing mobile financial service provider.
The first confirmed cases of Ccovid-19 in Bangladesh were announced on March 8 and since then the caseload has only been expanding.
The industry got a massive hit from the second week of March, before the government had announced a countrywide shutdown to flatten the curve on coronavirus.
Account-holders transacted about Tk1,283.4 crore in March, down 11.1% from February.
After the initial hit, the industry only benefited from the pandemic, which necessitated social distancing and contactless payment as much as possible to flatten the spread of the rogue pathogen.
"Consumers are fast becoming habituated to buying products through contactless transactions. That's why we are seeing the rising trend of mobile money transfers services during the pandemic," he added.
Merchant payment through the platform stood at Tk1,134.2 crore in July, up 39.8% from the previous month. A year earlier, it was Tk371.7 crore.
The government's move to only provide garment workers' salaries from the bailout package through the platform provided a further boost.
Between April and July, Tk10,500 crore was disbursed as salaries for garment workers from the package.
But other industries too availed the platform to disburse their workers' salaries: disbursement stood at Tk4,587 crore, up almost five times from a year earlier.
At the end of July, the total number of registered MFS accounts stood at 9.3 crore, of which 4.3 crore are actively using the service. There were 8.9 crore active accounts at the end of June.
MFS also benefitted from the record remittance inflow in July: the platform channelled Tk169.5 crore, up 35.4% from the previous month.