Banking on m-banking | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 05, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 05, 2011

Business Life

Banking on m-banking

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Like in many other countries, people in Bangladesh started believing in mobile banking, which was introduced on May 15 by Dutch Bangla Bank Ltd (DBBL).
BRAC Bank introduced the service on July 21. Mercantile Bank and Trust Bank are also going to introduce m-banking throughout the country with the help of the government union information centres.
A total of 12 banks are in the race to introduce the service, while two are in the final lap of implementation. It was possible for approval from Bangladesh Bank and the telecom operators have also come forward to help the banks.
Basic mobile handsets are being used as bank accounts and will serve as a wallet for the transaction of money, especially for the un-banked people.
As 99 percent of the people of Bangladesh are under the mobile phone network, almost all will have access to the formal financial channel.
On the other hand, more than 7.5 crore people are using mobile phones. If the banks can reach out to the un-banked people, the dream of more people having bank accounts can be fulfilled.
In Bangladesh, banks are responsible for being the main operator of the service while in some countries, telecom operators are entitled to the same. The mobile operators are working as subordinate groups with their huge network to run the financial system.
So far DBBL has bagged around 20,000 customers under the new system. The bank started the service initially in Dhaka city and its 6 surrounding districts with 150 to 200 field offices, said an official of the bank.
He said from this month, they will start the service in Chittagong, Noakhali, Sylhet, Comilla and Mymensingh districts.
The DBBL official said the bank has targeted people with low-income to enjoy the service. It has already signed agreements with two mobile operators -- Banglalink and Citycell. The bank also plans to sign a similar deal with Airtel.
BRAC Bank also started its journey under the brand name 'bKash'. It targets to register at least 10 lakh people under the system by year-end. The bank has tied up with mobile operator Robi but it will be involved with other operators in phases.
Syed Mahbubur Rahman, managing director and chief executive of BRAC Bank, said they already have almost 3,000 customers with bKash. It has developed 400 service delivery points and expects 3,000 points by year-end.
He said the m-banking service is confined to one mobile operator, which is a challenge. The bank is looking for opportunities to work with non-government organisations as well, he added.
“We want a stable environment for the mobile financial service, as we have introduced a total payment system,” he said.

abdullah.mamun@thedailystar.net

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Grameenphone and Robi:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2222

Banglalink:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2225

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