Encashing mobile remittance
Amzad Hossain has been working for a construction firm in Dubai for the last six years. He has to send money home on a regular basis, as he is the only earning member in his family. Each time Amzad has to go through a lot of hurdles to send money to his aged father in a remote village in Bangladesh.
There are no money transfer agencies near his village and so he hardly uses banks or agencies. Most of the time he has to rely on migrant workers like him, who is travelling home, which is quite rare, and sometimes by other means that he cannot rely on much. It takes minimum four to five days for the money to reach his family if he uses banks or agencies, and sometimes more. Like Amzad, there are many migrant workers who face the same problem. But now it can all be done in just a day or a few minutes.
In a revolutionary step on April 13, mobile remittance service or mRemittance was introduced in the country, opening doors to millions of migrant workers to help transfer their hard-earned money easily, effectively and most importantly, swiftly.
The first ever mRemittance service for Bangladesh was jointly launched by two local banks -- Dhaka Bank Ltd and Eastern Bank Ltd -- and the country's second largest mobile operator, Banglalink.
It is a complete mobile cross-border person-to-person payments solution that supports all mobile transactions conducted by mobile phone, such as money transfers, microfinance, account balance inquiries and recent transactions.
But in this case the scenario is a bit different. The process for the sender or the person who initiates the transfer will more or less the same, but the delivery method will be faster than ever.
Mobile remittance creates cross-boarder mobile money transfer services for efficient international mobile money transfer scenarios for both senders and beneficiaries. An open remittance hub connects sending and receiving money channels on a single platform, rather than through bilateral agreements.
The process is pretty simple. This service allows expatriates to deposit money with partnering banks and specifies the subscriber in Bangladesh who is to receive the money. The service sends a text message to the recipients, notifying them that the money has been transferred. The recipients can cash from any Banglalink remittance point by showing their mobile phone (with an SMS) and a form of personal identification.
The banks will use Banglalink as distribution network. The remitters will follow the existing process to send money home, while the recipients will get the money from Banglalink's registered cash points or remittance points free of cost.
The service will work through a "bank-led" model and the banks will offer 'mobile wallet' accounts to the mass through Banglalink and will ensure that the business process is in line with the financial regulations of the country.
They will also act as the cash custodian for mobile wallet users. Banglalink will be the information carrier and platform manager along with ensuring cash point rollout and connectivity.
Through this service, the banks will use Banglalink's payment management platform and communication network to introduce a highly secured, convenient, reliable, fast and cost-effective remittance system. Banglalink distribution outlets will be used as remittance disbursement cash points for the remittances sourced by the banks. The service will be initially launched in Dhaka and will be available nationwide within a month.
The beneficiaries who have Banglalink connections will be able to open mobile wallet accounts either at Dhaka Bank or Eastern Bank from selected Banglalink mobile remittance points by submitting necessary identity documents and account opening forms. Mobile wallet account holders can receive the remittance directly in their mobile wallet account created with the banks. Once the wallet account is credited, the account holders can receive partial or full disbursement from the cash points.
If the beneficiaries do not have Banglalink mobile connections, they can still receive the remittance from overseas by receiving a secured and unique transaction reference number, which is forwarded to them by the sender. In that case, the beneficiaries will have to go to the cash points with proof of identification and request for the disbursement by submitting the transaction reference number, the exact amount and the bank name. The beneficiaries can receive remittance disbursement from any of the designated Banglalink remittance points soon to be rolled out all over the country.
More or less similar mobile remittance services introduced by the Philippines' operators in recent years have proven highly successful for all the parties concerned: the operators are taking commissions on cash transfers, while the expatriate Filipinos are sending money home faster, more cheaply, and more securely than ever before.
Solaiman Alam, head of Public Relations, Communication and Mobile Financial Services of Banglalink said: "Mobile remittance service puts Bangladesh on the world map as a pioneer in mobile banking services. The service will be rolled out soon."
"This gives Bangladesh the same platform to compete with any world standard of banking technology. It is the first of its kind and is specifically designed to bring the benefit of formal banking to the rural mass."