The use of plastic money rose 5.5 percent in the third quarter of fiscal 2014-15 from the previous quarter as local consumers continue to embrace cashless transactions.
The development is in line with the expectations of policymakers, central bank officials and foreign experts, all of whom are bullish about the country's potential in digital payments.
“The country can create a cashless society by familiarising its large population with the digital payment system,” TR Ramachandran, group country manager of Visa Inc for India and South Asia, told The Daily Star recently.
He particularly pointed out the potential of the debit card, saying the number of debit card holders should be 4 crore in Bangladesh.
At the end of the January-March quarter, there were 88.93 lakh credit, debit and pre-paid card holders in Bangladesh in contrast to 84.29 lakh in the quarter that ended in December 2014, according to data from the central bank.
The use of credit cards in withdrawing funds from ATMs, for shopping and e-commerce rose 3.24 percent during the quarter to Tk 1,432 crore. Debit card holders spent Tk 21,386 crore using ATMs, point of sales and e-commerce in the third quarter, up 3.68 percent from a quarter earlier.
Pre-paid card holders spent Tk 59.8 crore in the third quarter in the country, which was Tk 58.8 crore in the second quarter. However, their spending outside the country dropped to Tk 11.3 crore from Tk 14.9 crore a quarter ago.
In digital payments, cheques worth Tk 359,096 crore were cleared using the magnetic link character recognition technology during the January-March period, which was Tk 356,376 crore in the second quarter.
The number of internet banking customers also saw a jump: their number rose to 20.91 lakh in the third quarter from 20.69 lakh a quarter ago.
Internet banking transactions in money terms rose more than 35 percent to Tk 4,929 crore in January-March.
Mobile banking transactions also increased significantly: it was Tk 34,556 crore in the third quarter, up 22.36 percent from the October-December quarter.
The number of mobile banking customers stood at 2.69 crore from 2.52 crore in the second quarter. Agent banking transactions went up 62 percent to Tk 75.5 crore, according to the central bank's latest statistics.