Bangladeshi users will only be able to receive their earnings through PayPal once it is inaugurated, which means its services will be limited in the country.
The most popular online money transfer service in the world will be launched here next week.
“PayPal has lots of features such as money transaction, e-wallet etc. But, we have considered what we need. We found that inbound cash transfer is required more than outbound. That’s why Bangladesh Bank has allowed receiving money through PayPal account via nine local banks,” State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak told a programme in Dhaka on Wednesday.
By using PayPal platform, parties from Bangladesh and any other country will be able to transfer funds through these nine banks, he said.
Sources said that PayPal will particularly be useful to around 550,000 freelancers and about 700 e-commerce websites in the country.
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At present, local freelancers have to use roundabout ways to bring home their foreign currency earnings – i.e. use someone else’s accounts abroad – which are both risky and costly.
PayPal resolves this issue and makes it easier and safer for freelancers to collect their payment from foreign clients.
Palak said on Wednesday that transactions were going on and about 700 transactions have already been completed successfully. “PayPal’s presence here will strengthen Bangladesh’s image around the world.”
Expatriates working in different countries will also be able to send their money to their families in Bangladesh using this platform, he added.
Asked when all facilities of PayPal will be available in Bangladesh, the state minister said: “Our ICT adviser will make announcement on further initiatives on how to develop the service and how to go for a cashless transaction after the inauguration on October 19.”
On Monday, Palak announced that Prime Minister’s ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy will inaugurate the service on October 19, the second day of the ICT Expo 2017 set to kick off next Wednesday in the capital.
PayPal users will be able to avail the service in approximately 12,000 branches of nine banks, including Sonali Bank and Rupali Bank, Palak had said that day.
However, responding to a Dhaka Tribune query, PayPal officials said they had no news to share at the moment regarding their future plans in Bangladesh.
“PayPal is not currently available in Bangladesh and we don’t have news to share right now regarding future plans,” Pooja Sabharwal, head of communications at PayPal India, told the Dhaka Tribune via email on Tuesday.
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“However, Xoom, a PayPal service, has been live in Bangladesh since November 2015. Through Xoom, people in the US can send money to loved ones by depositing money to leading banks in the country.”
Sources said the process to bring PayPal into Bangladesh began in March this year. The launch was initially scheduled in April, but it was postponed as meeting all the necessary conditions – crosschecking documents, ensuring legal compliance, finalising terms and conditions, etc – took longer than expected.
Market insiders believe that PayPal’s arrival will pave the way for hassle-free electronic fund transfer, increase access to foreign consumers and ease the influx of remittances and earnings from foreign companies.