Soumya Basu, currently a senior director of Visa’s South Asia Business Development department, has been tasked with leading the Bangladesh liaison office
Visa’s bid to set up shop in Bangladesh, where its rival MasterCard has a physical presence since 2013, is one step closer to fruition after the global leader in payments technology on Tuesday announced Soumya Basu as its country manager for Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
The San Francisco-based company, which has been providing cards in Bangladesh for 32 years now, was supposed to establish a country liaison office in Bangladesh in October, but the plan was pushed back as it could not find the captain of the ship.
Now, with the appointment of Basu, who is currently a senior director of Visa’s South Asia Business Development department, that hurdle has been removed.
Under Basu’s headship, Visa will introduce world-class digital payment products and solutions, the company said in a press release.
“Having worked closely with our clients, regulators and business partners over the past few years, we are conscious of Visa’s pioneering role in driving digital payments in Bangladesh,” he said.
His in-depth knowledge of Bangladesh will aid Visa in building and deepening long-term partnerships with key decision makers and industry stakeholders. This will span across banks, fintechs, mobile financial services, marquee merchants and regulatory authorities.
Basu, who has been with Visa since 2016 after holding management positions with leading multinational companies in India including Tata Group, CRISIL and Diebold Nixdorf, has been pivotal in furthering digital payments in Bangladesh over the past five years, according to TR Ramachandran, Visa’s group country manager for India and South Asia.
In recent years, Visa launched Bangladesh's first contactless card and introduced open-loop, interoperable quick response (QR) payments in line with BanglaQR specifications to the market.
“We are confident that his deep understanding of the Bangladesh payments landscape, strong relationships with our clients aided by his local presence will help us further strengthen our market leadership, while helping us make meaningful contributions to the country’s digital journey,” he added.
Currently, Visa has partnerships with close to 50 banks, leading financial technology companies and processors.
Visa’s move to set up an office comes at a time with card payment is on the rise, thanks in part to the global coronavirus pandemic that prompted many to turn to digital mode of payment to keep the lethal pathogen at bay.
In 2020, the average monthly card transactions stood at Tk 16,213.1 crore, up 5.5 per cent year-on-year, according to data from the Bangladesh Bank.
At the end of 2020, the total number of cards in circulation stood at 2.4 crore, up 20 per cent from a year earlier.