bKash has rolled out a new facility that allows people to transfer funds to non-account holders, in a move that may cut reliance on cash and increase the mobile financial service's (MFS) accessibility.
The service is part of a host of measures taken by the non-banking financial institution to support customers amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"It will make life easier for our customers since they can now complete almost any transaction, such as paying bills or transferring money online to avoid the risk of going outside," said Shamsuddin Haider Dalim, head of corporate communication at bKash.
Interested individuals can avail the service through the bKash app or by dialing *247#.
bKash has been providing many services to customers and it is easier for its customers to complete transactions because it has thousands of agents across the country, said Dalim.
However, the recipient of the funds transferred through the app will have to open a bKash account within 72 to hours if they wish to withdraw the money. If they fail to do so, the money would return to the senders' account within three working days.
Sometimes, emergency funds are needed to be sent from one party to another but the recipient may not have a bKash account. "Therefore, this new service will encourage recipients to open a new account," Dalim said.
After opening an account to receive funds, the new customer would be able to avail other services such as mobile recharge. In order to make the service more attractive, bKash is offering Tk 15 cashback on the money sent through the platform until September 30.
Customers can enjoy a total cashback of up to Tk 500 per month. No charges would apply to send money to non-account holders.
A bKash customer needs to enter the recipient's mobile phone number and the amount to be transferred on the app. The app would then ask for the customer's security PIN before disbursing the funds.
The beneficiary would be notified via a text message, which will contain a download link for the bKash app.
After the download is complete, the recipient would be able to create a bKash account. In order to avoid accidental transfers, senders can cancel the 'Send Money' request within the 72-hour timeframe.
Launched in 2011, bKash operates as a payment service provider that offers a broad range of digital financial services. During the ongoing pandemic, it has added around 40 lakh customers, bringing its total client base to 4.43 crore.
The company disbursed the salaries and wages of workers at more than 1,000 garment factories during this period as well.
Despite the sluggish inflow of remittance through regular channels amid the Covid-19 outbreak, the value of remittance sent home by Bangladeshi expatriates through digital or wallet-based money transfer services has risen.
In April, Bangladeshi expatriates transferred more than Tk 100 crore through bKash, up from Tk 27 crore in March.
Another service unveiled by bKash during the pandemic allows users to pay water bills in Dhaka, Chattogram and Sylhet.
Around 15 lakh distressed families received Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's cash aid through the MFS provider and more than 1.2 million secondary-level students received stipends before Eid.
bKash recently launched Visa and Amex credit card bill payment services. Customers can add or send money from bKash accounts to 14 banks that issue local VISA and Mastercard.
Although people's reliance on mobile financial services rose during the pandemic, the amount of transactions made daily slightly decreased, thanks to the lockdown, which stalled the economy.
Transactions made through MFSs totaled TK 29,029.14 crore in April, down from Tk 39,785.23 crore in March.
Average daily transactions fell 24.6 per cent to Tk 967.64 crore in April from March, when it was Tk 1,283.39 crore.
However, the number of registered clients increased 3.1 per cent to around 8.51 crore in April from a month ago, according to data from the Bangladesh Bank. Of them, 2.81 crore users are active now.