• Monday, April 21, 2014

BTRC notice on mobile banking raises confusion

Abdullah Mamun

Going out of its way, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission posted a notice on mobile banking, fixing service charges on money transferred by mobile.
As mobile banking is bank-led, the central bank is the authority to regulate the sector.
The notice that was posted on the BTRC website on Tuesday confused service providers as it is ambiguous on who will follow it: the banks or the mobile operators.
But a BTRC official, asking not to be named, said the directive would be applicable to both the mobile operators and banks.
The BTRC issued the directive as it received a number of complaints from customers of being overcharged, the official said, adding the regulator would welcome any observation from the banks.
Kamal Quadir, chief executive of bKash, a mobile financial service provider, said: “The directive has confused us as it is not relevant to our business.”

The central bank allows mobile financial service providers to transact up to Tk 25,000, but the BTRC directive has stated amounts in excess of Tk 100,000. Service providers can charge a maximum of 2 percent on transacting up to Tk 10,000, while the rate decreases as the amount increases, according to the directive.
The telecom regulator is not expected to direct the banks as the banking system is regulated by the central bank, but in this case, BTRC has directed both banks and telecom operators.
Mahfuzur Rahman, an executive director of Bangladesh Bank, said the telecom regulator did not contact BB before publishing the notice. “We don't understand why such a directive has been issued.”
Bangladesh Bank directs mobile financial service providers on how the transaction will take place or the maximum amount that can be transferred, but it does not fix the charges, he said.
Sunil Kanti Bose, chairman of BTRC, said he does not know the details of the directive. “If required, it will be amended.”
Banks take principal responsibility for mobile banking and they just use the mobile operators' networks to transfer money. Currently, 1.15 crore customers use the service.  

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, December 26, 2013

Last modified: 10:05 pm Thursday, December 26, 2013

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