BB issues licencing guidelines
Bangladesh Bank has allowed non-bank entities to operate automated teller machines across the country with specific focus on spreading banking network in the rural areas at an affordable cost.
To this end, the central bank’s payment systems department on Sunday issued Guidelines on White Label ATM and Merchant Acquiring Services (WLAMA).
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) set up, owned and operated by non-bank entities are called ‘White Label ATMs’.
At present, all the ATMs are installed, owned and managed by banks and that’s why installing ATMs for few customers of a particular bank in any rural area is costly.
To bring the unbanked people under financial service, the BB issued the guidelines, setting urban and rural ratio at 1:3.
For instance, the WLAMA licencee will have to install three ATMs at the rural areas if it installs an ATM booth in any urban area.
Such ATMs would be allowed to run cash withdrawal and deposit, funds transfer, mini statement, balance inquiry, bill payment, POS or QR retail purchase, POS or QR bill payment, other services as permissible by the central bank.
Along with banks, customers of the mobile financial service providers and non-bank financial institutions could also get the ATM service against their accounts and credit cards.
How much the customers will have to pay for availing the service was not specified in the BB’s guidelines.
However, an official of the central bank said the charge might be same as like the applicable charge for using a bank’s card in another bank’s ATM, said an official of the central bank, adding that the BB may determine the charge based on the response of the customers.
Apart from operating ATMs, the guidelines also allowed WLAMA licencee to operate as Merchant Acquiring Services.
Under the services, WLAMA could offer in-store merchant acquiring services such as Point of sales or QR code-based payments along with providing e-commerce merchant acquiring facilities.
For providing both ATM and merchant acquiring service, a WLAMA entity has to ensure Tk45 crore paid-up capital along with Tk 10 crore bank guarantee.
To provide ATM service only, there would be no requirement of bank guarantee.
Total number of ATM booths in the country reached 10,924 at the end of December last year.