These services could be expanded greatly through internet connectivity
In a developing country like Bangladesh, where not everyone has access to brick-and-mortar banks, there is little doubt that mobile financial services are the path to financial inclusion.
The latest statistics paint a picture of success: The year-on-year increase in transactions on mobile financial services has been a whopping 38.6% this year, or Tk49,121,1 crore. In the pandemic, while many sectors have taken a beating, MFS has thrived, and with good reason.
MFS has long been extremely popular among the unbanked. Not only is it a good way to send and receive money, it can be used to make payments at the point of sale, for salary disbursement, and for utility bill payments. All of these functions are greatly useful even under normal circumstances, but their value is multiplied during a pandemic -- such as the one we are currently experiencing -- when person-to-person contact is minimized due to safety protocols.
Most people, even in rural areas, have access to basic mobile phone sets, explaining the popularity of MFS. However, these services could be expanded greatly through internet connectivity and various apps. In that regard, however, we still have a long way to go, as smartphone penetration and digital literacy are still relatively low in rural areas.
A healthy, robust financial environment within any economy not only speeds things up and makes life easier for its citizens, it is absolutely imperative to sustainable development; and so, the more services that are introduced for harnessing the power of digitization, the closer Bangladesh will be towards achieving its long-term goals.