• Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018
  • Last Update : 01:15 pm

Bankers say many challenges to building cashless economy

  • Published at 10:07 pm July 30th, 2018
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Experts at 'Building Payment Ecosystem for Digital Bangladesh: Challenges and Opportunities' on Monday Courtesy

The bankers asked Bangladesh Bank to offer a choice for routing transactions, and also to ensure interoperability in the broader payment ecosystem

Insufficient infrastructure and a lack of security and public awareness about the use of digital payment systems are the key obstacles to building a full-fledged cashless transaction ecosystem in the banking sector, say bankers.

They urged bank owners to come up with long term investment plans to adopt a digital payment ecosystem in the country to keep up with global trends.

The bankers were speaking on Monday at a roundtable discussion of “Building Payment Ecosystem for Digital Bangladesh: Challenges and Opportunities,” jointly organized by the Association of Bankers Bangladesh Limited (ABB) and The Daily Star at The Westin Dhaka.

The discussants spoke about giving banks the option to choose how to route domestic point of sale (POS) and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transactions, instead of making the National Payment Switch Bangladesh (NPSB) mandatory.

The bankers asked Bangladesh Bank to offer a choice for routing transactions, and also to ensure interoperability in the broader payment ecosystem.

Discussants also said that it is always risky to have a single point of failure, and therefore the payment ecosystem should have multiple fallback options.

Syed Mahbubur Rahman, chairman of ABB, said: “Insufficient infrastructure and lack of security and public awareness about the use of digital payment systems are the main obstacles to building a full-fledged cashless transaction ecosystem. Bangladesh Bank, the private sector and the media have to work together improve this situation.”

Abul Kashem Md Shirin, managing director and CEO of Dutch-Bangla Bank Limited, said: “People need to make long-term investments in mobile banking services, because future banking will depend on online banking.“

“If everybody had an active mobile banking service unit, all customers would be taking services through mobile banking right now,” he added.

Other speakers said that globally the payment ecosystem is rapidly evolving with an increasing penetration of connected devices. The disparity between the number of mobile phone subscribers and people making electronic payments gives an estimate about the potential headroom for introducing innovative, interoperable electronic payment solutions in Bangladesh.

This roundtable discussed strategies for building a payment ecosystem in Bangladesh that will be interoperable, safe, and reliable, so that all relevant stakeholders will have a level playing field.

Tom Crawford, public policy adviser for Washington-based FTI consulting, was the keynote speaker at the roundtable. The welcome address was given by Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star. Lila Rashid, general manager of the Payment Systems Department of Bangladesh Bank, and Dianne Rajaratnam, Asia Pacific lead at Better Than Cash Alliance also spoke at the roundtable.