Mobile banking has been a great boon for Bangladesh ever since its inception.
It has made banking safer, and exponentially more efficient.
Technology has also made banking highly inclusive, as it brought into the fold previously unbanked people in remote areas and the poor, who are often overlooked by traditional banks.
However, the Bangladesh Bank’s new restrictive measures for mobile wallets will stand as an obstacle to all this progress and eventually hurt our economy.
BB has limited total deposits to Tk300,000 only; also, users can only make deposits up to Tk30,000 per day and Tk1 lakh per month. As for withdrawals, the limit per day is Tk10,000, and per month Tk50,000.
People use mobile banking for business purposes, and for personal purchases and emergencies. And realistically, in today’s economy, Tk300,000 is not that great an amount in the world of business.
Regulation and oversight are indeed necessary, but there are better ways to do that -- criminals and terror financiers would hardly be deterred by the cap, but law abiding citizens would be hurt.
What we need is proper monitoring -- in September, Bangladesh Bank suspended the accounts of 2,887 bKash agents after monitoring their activity and deeming it suspicious. The agents were found to be involved in what is called digital hundi.
Deposits were made in all 2,887 accounts from a foreign source in just one night. A Tk30,000 cap on deposits per day would not have helped in that situation, and neither will it help in any other.