From now on, Bangladeshis will be able to use their commercial bank-issued international (foreign currency) credit cards for online payments of fees and purchasing, travel related payments abroad and online hotel booking.
In a major move on Thursday, Bangladesh Bank has allowed international credit cardholders to use their cards not exceeding $100 or its equivalent at a single transaction against legitimate purchases of items of goods and services (such as downloadable application software, e-books etc) from reputed and reliable sources abroad.
A circular issued by the central bank also says online payments for such purchases shall be limited to the available unused annual travel quotas of the cardholders plus an additional amount not exceeding $1,000 annually.
While talking to the Dhaka Tribune, IT expert Atif Sattar said this window will really increase the availability of educational and career oriented tools to everyone. This will potentially increase the growth of the IT sector in Bangladesh as well.
“A whole new window of opportunity for many start-ups here. Small business owners will now be able to purchase their own Facebook ads for their Facebook Page. Students can purchase web hosting, servers, domains online. Graphic Designers can buy templates, icons, tools such as Adobe Creative Cloud. Paid Online Learning will open up to everyone with services such as Lynda.com,” he said.
Atif said with this move people can now stop asking favours from their family or friends living abroad with a foreign bank account if they want to purchase something that may only cost $5 online.
“The amount of $1000 dollars online should be sufficient for most users although the limit set at $100 per transaction may be a setback for many. Many tools/services may charge $150 or even more on a single transaction.”
“I appreciate the move taken by the Bangladesh Bank. Better late than never. We hope to see higher single transaction limits in the future.”
Software piracy may also decline slightly in the market with this move, he said. “Earlier, people illegally downloaded applications that cost a few dollars only because they were unable to pay for it online. And for self-satisfaction people thought that they didn’t have a choice, but now they do.”
“The mobile industry in Bangladesh will highly benefit from this ruling. Along with Bangladesh, only 12 countries in the world have more than 100m active mobile subscribers. People will now be able to purchase paid applications on the Android Play Store. Previously local companies were only able to publish free applications as no one had the ability to pay online to buy paid applications. This allows local companies for the first time to sell paid applications focused for both home and abroad.”