BRAC Bank introduced a complete mobile financial service yesterday with assistance from its subsidiary company bKash Ltd. Now mobile phones will be used as bank accounts and they will also serve as wallet for transaction of money.
BRAC Bank said customers will be able to receive electronic money into their bKash accounts through salary, loan, domestic remittance, and other disbursements and eventually will cash out the electronic money at any of the hundreds of cash out agents bKash assigns.
The bank said bKash will fundamentally change the way people now do transactions, as customers will not need to come to the bank; rather the bank will come to their places.
bKash is designed to provide financial services via mobile phones to both the unbanked and the banked people of Bangladesh. The overall bKash value proposition is simple: a safe, convenient place to store money; a safe, easy way to make payments and money transfers, said the bank in a statement.
bKash mobile wallet is a VISA technology platform, which is fully encrypted to ensure most secure transactions. It will be the customer account into which money can be deposited and out of which money can be withdrawn or used for various services.
Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman inaugurated the service yesterday. The governor marked the service as a true partnership between banking and telecom industries.
He said broader socio-economic objectives of serving low-income people would be met by bKash. He believes that it would promote sustainable micro-savings to achieve broader financial inclusion by providing convenient, affordable and reliable services.
The governor invited all the banks to launch such services that are more secured and can ensure faster settlement. Mobile banking is another success story of Bangladesh, he said.
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson of BRAC, said, “bKash provides a wonderful opportunity for millions of unbanked people who own cell phones to have bank accounts where they will be able to deposit, pay out and transfer funds as they wish safely and securely.”
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s newly appointed Vice Chairman Md Giasuddin Ahmed said the regulator would help the telecom operators by providing other frequencies for such services.
Mobile operator Robi Axiata has become a partner with BRAC Bank to provide the service for its subscribers and extend the distribution of the service. Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Robi Michael Kuehner said, this is the first time a dedicated mobile financial service provider has partnered with a mobile operator. So it must be remembered that the customers expect truly transformative payment solutions and services, he added.
Chief Marketing Officer of Robi Bidyut Kumar Basu also spoke at the event.
Muhammad A (Rumee) Ali, chairman of BRAC Bank and bKash, said the service will highly benefit the country as a large portion of the population earns a little amount of money and access to finance can help in improving their economic situation.
Kamal Quadir, CEO of bKash, said, “We will evolve with the needs of individuals, businesses and communities.”
Syed Mahbubur Rahman, managing director and CEO of BRAC Bank, said the bank targets at least 10 lakh people to be registered with the system within this year. For the time being the bank has tied up with mobile operator Robi but it will be involved with the other operators in phases, he said.
The menu-driven system will be user-friendly, he said, adding that customers can do banking even through the most basic handset.
-With The Daily Star input