City Bank and bKash, the country's largest mobile financial services provider, yesterday joined hands to allow their customers to avail a number of services from each other's platforms, in what can be described as a first-of-its-kind partnership for the country's financial sector.
Under the agreement, City customers will be able to transfer funds instantly between their bank accounts and bKash wallets through the bank's digital banking platform, Citytouch.
City credit cardholders will be able to pay their bills from their bKash wallet.
Customers of bKash will be able to withdraw cash from any of the 350 City cash machines across the country. But there would be a charge for the transactions.
Customers will have to pay 1 percent of their bill for payment through bKash. For instance, if the credit card bill is Tk 10,000, customers will have to pay Tk 100 extra for paying the bill through bKash.
Moreover, cash withdrawal by bKash clients from City ATM booths will be charged 1.5 percent, which however is less than the 1.8 percent that bKash charges for withdrawing cash by way of its agents.
However, transferring amount from the bank account to wallet will remain free.
“This strategic partnership will begin a new era in country's payment system,” said Sohail RK Hussain, managing director and chief executive officer of City Bank.
The agreement will make payment of card bills for City customers smoother and easier, said Mashrur Arefin, additional managing director of City Bank.
A client has to spend up to Tk 500, accounting for time, transport cost and so on, for depositing card bills to bank branches.
“Payment through bKash will reduce their costs,” he said, adding that City is planning to introduce loan instalment payment through the bKash channel as well.
The agreement will promote financial inclusion by bringing remote people under the banking service, said Kamal Quadir, chief executive officer of bKash.
Many bKash customers in remote areas do not have bank account but from now on they will be able to get banking services without having a bank account.
It also opens opportunities for City Bank to design products and services for common people that can be delivered through bKash, he added.
Hussain and Quadir signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations at an event held at the bank's headquarters in Dhaka.