Mobile banking use surged in the first half of 2017 despite Bangladesh Bank lowering the daily and monthly transaction limits to curb the illegal channelling of remittance.
According to the latest data from the central bank, the average daily value of mobile financial services (MFS) transactions broke through the Tk1,000 crore barrier in June.
The figure was reached through an average of 6 million daily transactions and was 18% higher than the Tk844.23 crore recorded in 4.9 million daily transactions in May.
MFS enables consumers to obtain financial account information and conduct transactions with their financial institution using mobile banking services, and to make payments, transfer money, or pay for goods and services through mobile payments.
The banking method is growing in popularity in Bangladesh. At present, 17 of the 19 banks granted permission to run MFS are providing services and of these, Brac Bank’s bKash and Dutch Bangla Bank’s Rocket topped the list in service providing.
Former Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman introduced MFS, claiming that “no other country has more mobile banking customers than Bangladesh.”
According to the central bank data, the number of registered mobile bank accounts stood at 53.7m by the end of June, up from 52.6m in May. Among the registered accounts, the number of active mobile banking account users stood at 27.4m.
However, to target rising illegal use of MFS, from February 1, 2017 the central bank brought down the daily ceiling of mobile cash-in to Tk15,000 from Tk25,000, while slashing the maximum cash-out limit to Tk10,000 from Tk25,000.
The monthly maximum cash-in limit was slashed to Tk100,000 from Tk150,000 and the maximum monthly limit on cash-out was brought down to Tk50,000 from Tk150,000.
Industry insiders said the Bangladesh Bank move hardly had any negative impacts on the overall volume of MFS transactions as the users who previously used 10 SIMs for their transactions now have 15-20 SIMs.
“That’s why the number of daily transactions might have increased,” a senior Bangladesh Bank official told the Dhaka Tribune.
The latest central bank data also showed that the inward remittance through MFS has increased by almost 10% to Tk8.31 crore in June from Tk7.56 crore in May.
According to the Bangladesh Bank data, of the different categories in MFS payments, the service of salary disbursement benefited the most marking a month-on-month increase of 58.73%.
An amount of Tk666 crore was disbursed as salaries through the MFS channel in June, up from Tk419.65 crore in May.