July figures jump to record Tk1,134 crore, a single month-high
Payment on buying products and services through mobile financial services, a means for cashless transactions, reached a record Tk1,134 crore in July as people went for contactless transactions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Bangladesh Bank (BB) data, in July merchant payment through mobile financial services stood at Tk1,134 crore, the highest ever, up by 39.8%, compared to Tk811.46 crore in June this year.
Merchant payment occurs when a client pays kiosks or grocery store owners through mobile financial services (MFS) to buy products or services from them.
On the other hand, merchant payment through MFS registered a 34.88% growth to Tk4,332.89 crore, a 12% growth in the first seven months of 2020 compared to Tk3,212.40 crore in the same period in 2019.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, MFSs operators opined that payment through mobile financial services had gained momentum as Covid-19 forced people to buy products online and make contactless payment due to health risks posed by the novel virus.
“I usually pay for groceries in cash, but since the pandemic poses health risks I have switched to mobile contactless payment to remain safe and to avoid contamination,” Md Abidur Rahman, a retired banker, told Dhaka Tribune at a super shop.
It was convenient, as well as safer than carrying cash. “However, the service is not available in local grocery stores, which is an obstacle for mass use,” said Rahman.
He urged operators and regulators to make it easy for one to avail a merchant account so that everyone could get involved in cashless transactions.
“Since people preferred contactless transactions due to the pandemic, they were oriented with the MFS system to pay. As a result, we have seen a revolutionary change in purchase behaviour of customers through MFSs,” Shamsuddin Haider Dalim, head of corporate communications of bKash, told Dhaka Tribune.
On the other hand, Eid-Ul-Azha was another reason for the growth. But the trend towards adopting a cashless payment system is also on the rise due to the convenience MFS has created, he added.
"We have the largest payment network of 150,000 merchant points across the country, including small merchants like grocery shops to merchants plus like superstores, restaurants etc," said Shamsuddin.
bKash would continuously keep expanding and upgrading its services for ensuring seamless customer experience, he added.
On top of that, consumers’ habituation and fondness for digital and cashless transactions have also been pushing mobile transactions up.
“We are observing that people prefer digital financial platforms for their daily spending and that is why we are seeing the rising trend of mobile money transfers services,” Tanvir Ahmed Mishuk, managing director of Nagad, told Dhaka Tribune
Consumers were gradually getting habituated to buying products through touch-less transactions and that is why the number had been growing significantly. Covid-19 also played an important role here to push shoppers to get on board in the digital platform, said Tanvir.
And in recent times, Eid-ul Azha had played an important role and caused the numbers to accelerate as Eid shoppers preferred to shop online and paid through mobile wallets even in retail stores, he added.
In addition, a rising trend of purchasing from online marketplaces also acted as a catalyst for the sharp rise.
According to MFSs operators, there are about 2,000 e-commerce shops which are receiving payment through digital payment systems.
On the other hand, service providers such as hospitals and broadband internet service providers are also using cashless transactions to receive payment from clients.
Meanwhile, total transactions through mobile financial services in the country stood at Tk62,999 crore in July, up by 40.5% compared to Tk44,831 crore in June this year.