Bangladesh Bank yesterday ordered banks to connect their point of sales (POS) terminals with the National Payment Switch Bangladesh by December 2019.
Banks were earlier asked to connect their POS terminals with the domestic ATM sharing network governed by the banking regulator by December 2017.
The deadline extension came as many banks are yet to comply with the instruction of the central bank, said a BB official. Some 48 banks are presently interoperable for POS transactions through the payment switch.
The facility allows cardholders from any of the banks to use POS terminals of all the member lenders in merchant outlets for retail purchases, according to the central bank website.
As of May 2018, there are 40,693 POS terminals in the country.
Most banks have showed unwillingness to settle card-based transactions routing only the NPSB, saying they need alternative channels for fair competition and customers' security, a top official of a private bank said.
If the NPSB faces any troubles, the alternative gateway system will be able to settle transactions, he said.
Syed Mahbubur Rahman, chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh, a platform of the CEOs of private banks, welcomed the central bank move, saying it would give customers an option to use for payments.
“The decision will give us time to explore the best option for the customers. We always require alternatives if there is an unexpected problem in any one of the systems,” he said.
Syed Mohammad Kamal, country manager of MasterCard Bangladesh, said the deadline extension would help Bangladesh innovate payment systems.
The NPSB started its operation in 2012 with a view to attaining interoperability among banks for all card-based and online retail transactions.
At present, it is processing inter-bank automated teller machines, POS and fund transfer through internet banking.