Anonymous transaction through the mobile payment service is considered the most vulnerable area as it creates scope for money laundering, a survey found.
Some 81 percent of bankers identified the transaction from anonymous sources as the major concern for money laundering while improper KYC (Know Your Customer) encourages such transactions, according to the perception survey.
The Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) conducted the survey titled “Money Laundering Vulnerabilities in New Payment Systems”.
Shah Md Ahsan Habib, director of the BIBM, who led the research, presented the findings at a workshop at the institute's auditorium in Dhaka yesterday.
A weak identification process and lack of verification mechanism as well as identity fraud encourage fund transfer from anonymous sources through electronic payment channels such as mobile banking, card payment and agent banking, according to the research.
According to the bankers' perception, proper selection of agents is the biggest challenge when it comes to fighting money laundering.
Unhealthy competition among the banks is also a major factor for the wrong selection of agents. Ultimately it leads to improper customer identification problem.
Other concerns are a lack of awareness and anonymous funding, according to the survey. Due to a lack of technological expertise, bankers face difficulties in detecting complex transactions under internet banking, the report said. An absence of advanced technology in some banks is another reason for the non-detection of this type of transaction, according to bankers.
Speedy transaction and a lack of monitoring are considered as other risky areas.
The proportion of mobile financial service (MFS) account-holders in the population was only 3 percent in 2014 and rose to about 38 percent last year. This is higher than the South Asian average of 33 percent and the lower middle-income country average of 27 percent.
Although more than half of banks in Bangladesh are running MFS services, Dutch-Bangla Bank Ltd and bKash, a subsidiary of Brac Bank, are very active in the market, holding more than 98 present market share combined.
Payment through mobile channel is growing faster, said Lila Rashid, a general manager of Bangladesh Bank, speaking at the event. It will take some time to bring discipline in the growing payment channel, she said.
Banks' reliance on IT is increasing so bankers should be well trained on the digital service system, said Helal Ahmed Chowdhury, a supernumerary professor of the BIBM.
Toufic Ahmad Choudhury, director general of the institute, and Ahmed Jamal, a deputy governor of the BB, also spoke.