Nagad, a mobile financial service (MFS) provider, has teamed up with Grameenphone to offer scope to 7.8 crore subscribers of the telecom operator to open accounts easily for mobile money transfers.
Under the arrangement, subscribers of Grameenphone will be able to open MFS accounts with Nagad by allowing the operator to share four types of information -- national identity card number, name, date of birth and current address, Nagad said.
Nagad and Grameenphone launched the service yesterday at a virtual event where the MFS operator said it will verify the customers' information that is already registered with the mobile operator and then will crosscheck it with the database of the Election Commission.
All the process will be completed in a few seconds, according to a statement.
Nagad's move comes as it looks to fast increase its customer base. The MFS provider has even brought down its cash-out charge to Tk 9.99 for every Tk 1,000, which is the lowest among its peer companies.
Since Robi Axiata and Teletalk subscribers are able to avail the same service, over 12 crore of the country's 16.8 crore mobile phone subscribers can now easily open an account with Nagad.
However, a number of subscribers remain sceptical about how their sensitive information is used while some also question legality of the move.
"It is definitely good news for customers as they can now be included in the formal financial sector in a quick and easy way," Habib Ullah, a resident of West Razabazar, told The Daily Star.
"But still, some customers who go through this fast process may not realise what kind of information they are allowing the operators to pass on to other entities," he said, adding that a clear explanation is required so that people can understand exactly what information they are making available.
Tanvir A Mishuk, managing director of the postal department's digital financial service arm Nagad, said the operators have permission from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to share identity information and that by dialling *167#, the customer will allow Nagad to access that information.
This means that the whole process is done legally and customer information is fully secured in Nagad's database, he added.
According to the managing director, Nagad only gets to access four types of customer information during the process. This includes the customer's national identity card number, name, date of birth and current address.
"Nagad also verifies other information from the NID database and the whole process is completed in just one second," Mishuk said.
Post and Telecom Minister Mustafa Jabbar thanked Nagad and Grameenphone for rolling out such a service, which makes it easier to access the digital service.
"Through this innovation, the common people of Bangladesh will not face any obstacle or endure the lengthy procedure required to be financially included," Jabbar said, adding that this initiative will play a significant role in the country's overall economic development.
YasirAzman, CEO of Grameenphone, said they must work together with their partners to bring the benefits of technology and make digital inclusion possible for the people of Bangladesh.
"This agreement shows our firm commitment towards Digital Bangladesh and digital financial inclusion through partnership," he added.
Nagad is a joint venture between the Bangladesh Post Office and Third Wave Technologies. The postal department owns a 51 per cent stake.
Nagad's push for greater market share comes at a time when the segment is witnessing a phenomenal growth as an increasing number of people, businesses and government agencies are turning to the channel to avail digital services amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The MFS sector's average daily transactions stood at Tk 1,718.03 crore as of October, Bangladesh Bank data shows.
According to Nagad, which has 2.59 crore customers, its average daily transactions stood at Tk 200 crore as of September.