Discounts galore for card users boosts Baishakhi sales

Celebrating Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla New Year, is certainly a delight for customers who use plastic money, as boutiques and food courts partnered with banks and card issuing companies to offer discounts.

Most financial institutions are offering 5-20 percent discounts for both debit and credit cards used to buy clothes and dine out at different lifestyle brand shops.   

MasterCard has launched a flat discount of 10 percent for its debit and credit cardholders at the outlets of leading brands such as Nipun, Kay Kraft, Anjan's, Rang, Banglar Mela, Sadakalo, Bibiana and Nogordola. The campaign will boost sales and promote electronic payments, said Syed Mohammad Kamal, country manager of MasterCard Bangladesh.

“I bought a panjabi from Deshi Dosh. The tax was around 15 percent, and paying with a MasterCard got me a 10 percent discount. It felt quite good,” said Prince Mittra, consumer research consultant at a firm in Dhaka. 

Standard Chartered Bank is offering up to 15 percent discount to its debit and credit cardholders on the purchase of clothes, sweets and footwear. Any StanChart cardholder can also enjoy buffet lunch or dinner for two at the price of one at Long Beach Suites and Dhaka Regency Hotel, the bank told customers through mobile notifications.  

Trust Bank offered discounts in three categories -- 5-12 percent on dining out, 50 percent on leisure and fun, and up to 25 percent at lifestyle brands.  Aarong, which has 13 outlets across the country, is giving its customers 10 percent discount on purchases made through American Express cards.

“Many banks are teaming up with leading fashion and lifestyle brands to offer discounts and promote the use of cards,” said Anis A Khan, managing director of Mutual Trust Bank, which is giving 5-15 percent discounts for clothing items. As of September, the country has 5.77 lakh credit cards and 72.85 lakh debit cards in the market, according to Bangladesh Bank. A leading mobile financial service provider, bKash, has partnered with 28 major fashion houses and online stores and giving up to 20 percent cash-back benefit. 

“We are offering discount mainly to encourage customers to use their mobile wallets for multiple purposes rather than just sending and receiving money,” said Asif Ahmed, head of marketing at bKash. 

Payment through bKash this year has surpassed past records, he said. The offer will remain valid till April 18 at 244 outlets of the participating brands across the country. 

Many boutiques have joined the financial institutions' discount campaigns to improve Baishakhi sales, said Azharul Haque Azad, president of Fashion Entrepreneurs Association of Bangladesh, representing more than 50 boutiques. 

Many customers are using cards for making payments due to convenience, he said, adding that payments through cards and mobile wallets now account for around 20 percent of the boutiques' total sales. During the last season, fashion houses and boutiques logged sales worth around Tk 1,500 crore, up 10 percent from the previous season, he said. 

Of the annual sales, Pahela Baishakh's sales make up 25 percent and the month of Ramadan 50 percent, Azad said. “So far we got a good response this season.”   



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