For the first time since mobile financial services (MFS) were launched in the country in 2011, monthly transactions through these services have crossed Tk1 Lakh crore for three consecutive months – from March to May this year.
Currently, there are 13 banks offering mobile financial services in the country such as bKash, Rocket, UKash, MyCash and SureCash.
According to the central bank data, transactions involving Tk1.08 lakh crore were made using mobile financial services in May this year. Around Tk76,000 crore were traded through these service providers in May last year, around 42% lower compared to the same month of this year.
Around Tk1.08 lakh crore was transacted in March, and a record amount of Tk1.25 lakh crore in April 2023 through mobile financial services.
Shamsuddin Haider Dalim, head of corporate communications of bKash, said, "The biggest change that will come in the mobile financial services sector is digital payments. As we have reviewed, people are gradually getting used to making digital payments. They are now making payments through mobile financial services like bKash instead of paying in cash. We can see a big jump here in a year."
Mentioning that transactions are increasing due to an increasing faith in the mobile financial service providers, he said, "Among many bKash account holders, we are seeing an increasing trend of using the digital services to pay fees for schools and colleges, purchase bus and train tickets, and pay utility bills.
"Besides, we are also introducing many new products as per the customers' demand, which is also boosting the transactions."
According to the central bank, payments made using mobile financial services at super shops and businesses crossed Tk6,000 crore for the first time in May this year, which was Tk2,747 crore in the same month of 2022. That means merchant payments through these services increased by 124% in one year.
Around Tk1,022 crore worth of talk-time was purchased in May 2023 using mobile financial services, which was a record. Apart from that, utility bills amounting to Tk2,962 crore have also been paid through these services in that month, which is also a record.
Zahidul Islam Sajal, head of communications of Nagad Limited, told TBS, "At least 25% of our 4 crore customers make transactions using the app. Cash-in and cash-out trends are high among analogue users.
"Moreover, people are using mobile financial services to make digital payments, recharge phones, and pay utility bills in addition to the above two services."
According to the central bank data, the total number of mobile financial service subscribers stood at 20.4 crore at the end of May 2023. The number of subscribers has grown by 2.5 crores in the last year. These customers made over 50 crore transactions in May.
Stakeholders said the total number of accounts in the mobile financial services has crossed 20 crores, but the number of unique customers is not so high. The reason for this, they say, is that a customer uses multiple mobile financial services, which makes the number appear larger.
The Bangladesh Bank launched mobile banking activities in 2010. The first mobile financial service in the country – Rocket – started its journey on 31 March 2011.