Visa cardholders can now load up bKash wallets

Customers of mobile financial service provider bKash will be able to load their wallets by way of their Visa debit or credit cards, in a development that will give further momentum to propagating cashless transactions in Bangladesh.

The service comes in the thick of the coronavirus outbreak.

It is said that the novel virus spreads through bank notes, a disclosure that has prompted South Korea's central bank to quarantine bank notes and China to clean potentially infected cash with ultraviolet light and high temperature.

Experts also suggested going cashless to avoid contagion of the virus that is wrecking havoc around the globe. At the time of writing, the deadly virus has claimed more than 15,000 lives and sickened more than 343,000.

COVID-19 has taken a menacing form in Bangladesh, and is said to have reached the community transmission level.

This prompted the Bangladesh Bank on Saturday to order banks to take extra safety measures for those who would be handling banknotes to prevent the financial system from becoming an agent of community transmission of the deadly coronavirus.

Banks have also been asked to divide the workforce at least into two groups on the basis of their responsibilities. The groups will run the operations of the banks on a rostering basis every week.

The central bank also asked banks to accelerate online services so that customers need not visit branches in person to carry out banking.

Customers can pay for a wide range of service through bKash: mobile recharge, money transfer, payment at point-of-sales terminal, pay utility bills, buy tickets, pay insurance, and so on.

"Particularly at this moment of emergency, customers with Visa cards can avoid visiting MFS agent points," said bKash.

The relationship of banks, cards and mobile financial service will bring in more opportunities of digital transactions across the country, which would be hassle-free, secure and reliable, said Kamal Quadir, chief executive officer of bKash.

"We have always been committed to growing the digital ecosystem with our strong partnerships in Bangladesh. After partnering with bKash to enable credit card bill payments, we are excited to launch the Add Money service for all Visa cardholders on bKash," said TR Ramachandran, group country manager of Visa for India and South Asia.

With the large number of Visa and bKash users, this service will make digital payments simple and seamless for people across the country, he added.

Eastern Bank is providing technological support for this integration between Visa and bKash.


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