The monthly transactions through mobile financial services (MFS), such as bKash, Nagad and Rocket, surpassed Tk1 lakh crore in January this year for the second time since the launch of the services in 2011, according to the latest Bangladesh Bank data.
The transactions amounted to Tk1,00,593 crore in the month, which is 4.64% higher compared to that of the previous month and 18.65% higher than the same month a year ago.
Apart from the record in amount, the mobile financial service sector also witnessed the highest transactions, 46.30 crore in number, in January 2023. The number is 3.5 crore higher than the previous month.
The country saw the first record of crossing Tk1 lakh crore-mark in MFS transactions in April 2022, centring the biggest religious festival Eid-ul-Fitr. Sector insiders believe that MFS transactions will register new records before this year's Eid as well.
"People are becoming used to digital transactions day by day. The number of our clients has already reached 6.7 crore, which is a testimony to that," Shamsuddin Haider Dalim, head of corporate communications at bKash, told The Business Standard.
"Mobile financial services have made life much easier by offering a number of convenient services. Moreover, we are trying to add new products on a regular basis."
"In our observation, people continue to transact and use different services after they use bKash for the first time, which means that they trust bKash," Shamsuddin Haider said, adding that the transactions have been on the rise in such ways.
Besides, the use of MFS by the governments for distributing different allowances also contributed to the surge in transaction amounts, he noted.
An analysis of January data shows that transactions in all areas including cash-in, cash-out, person-to-person balance transfer, and salary distribution have increased substantially. The most significant growth, 14% year-on-year, was seen in merchant payments to reach Tk3,373 crore.
The total number of MFS accounts stood at 19.41 crore at the end of December last year, according to the central bank, while some 2.1 crore accounts were added in that year alone.
The Bangladesh Bank permitted mobile banking in 2010. It came into operation early next year with the launch of Rocket, an initiative of Dutch-Bangla Bank. Currently, 13 banks provide such services in the country under different names such as bKash, UKash, MyCash and SureCash.