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An Exploration Of The Booming Mobile Banking Market In Bangladesh

 

 

 

 

 

Mobile Financial Services (MFS) popularly known as ‘Mobile Banking Bangladesh is a service provided by a bank or other financial institution that allows its customers to conduct financial transactions remotely using a mobile device such as a mobile phone. It includes disbursement of inward remittances, financial transactions through agent/ bank branch/ ATM/ mobile operator outlet, payments of business organizations (such as utility bills) by individuals, payment of individuals by business organization (such as salary distribution) payment of individuals by Government  (such as old-age allowance, freedom fighter allowance, etc.), payments of Government by individuals (such as tax payments), individual to individual transactions (from one registered mobile account to another registered mobile account) and other transactions such as micro finance, overdraft facilities, insurance premiums, etc.
The developments in mobile phone density in Bangladesh, with 120.7 million (BTRC, October, 2016) subscribers, present a unique opportunity to leverage the mobile platform to meet the objectives and challenges of financial inclusion. For the last few years the Government, especially Bangladesh Bank, took deliberate efforts for including the large number of unbanked and under-banked people living in remote areas in abject poverty conditions.

 

bution payment of individuals by Government  (such as old-age allowance, freedom fighter allowance, etc.), payments of Government by individuals (such as tax payments), individual to individual transactions (from one registered mobile account to another registered mobile account) and other transactions such as microfinance, overdraft facilities, insurance premiums, etc.
The developments in mobile phone density in Bangladesh, with 120.7 million (BTRC, October, 2016) subscribers, present a unique opportunity to leverage the mobile platform to meet the objectives and challenges of financial inclusion. For the last few years the Government, especially Bangladesh Bank, took deliberate efforts for including the large number of unbanked and under-banked people living in remote areas in abject poverty conditions.
This report is based on information from a total of 3000 respondents (users of mobile banking services without an account, active and inactive account holders and unbanked people) and 1000 agents covering urban and rural areas of 7 divisions and 23 districts.

MFS Compared to Other Online Delivery Channels

At the end of 2011 MFSs started in Bangladesh. A comparison of volume of transactions of different online delivery channels since 2011 to 2015 is shown in the following figure. It is clearly seen that mobile banking growth crossed all delivery channels.

Status of Mobile Financial Services in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has a rapidly growing mobile financial services industry, with at least 17 providers already offering services on the market. At the end of 2016, the number of total agents was 7,10,026 and the number of registered customers was almost 41.1 million, of which active accounts were almost 15.8 million. The number of total transactions was 1,473.24 millions in 2016 while the amount of total transactions was BDT 2346.92 billion at the end of  same month (Payment Systems Department, Bangladesh Bank). In the few years since the launch of the MFSs, the sector has shown significant growth.

A tremendous growth of the number of agent, client, transaction and volume of transaction has been observed during the period 2012 to 2016.

Current Competition and Market Share

To calculate the current market share of MFS providers we considered 16 factors like total MFS accounts, number of agents, total number of transactions and volume of transactions. In case of number and volume of transactions all services (Cash In, Cash Out, P2P, Mobile Top-Up, Inward Remittance Disbursement, Salary Disbursement, etc.) provided by the MFS providers are also evaluated.

bKash (BRAC Bank) currently dominates the MFS space accounting for 55.11% of the market followed by DBBL (38.26%). The remaining eleven providers with live services currently account for around 6.63% of the total market share. The focus of these key players have been on expanding their outreach through utilization of existing resources (i.e. ATMs, branch offices) and the acquisition of agents across the country. The main population target of providers has been the unbanked and under-banked. bKash has played a significant role in creating the market and building awareness to the extent that some people refer to ‘bKash’ to mean all mobile financial services. Market share by agent and customers are shown in the figure below.

The growth of the market has largely benefited from domestic remittances. The most popular transaction types are cash-in (42.46% of total transactions), cash-out (37.28%) and person to person (P2P) transactions (16.53%).

Pricing

The prices of the main services from the MFS providers are mostly similar, in some cases the providers have taken a different pricing strategy. In fact, there is no cost for opening a mobile account with any of these providers. Five of the MFS providers are providing cash-in at either an agent or bank branch for free; for those providers that charge for cash-in the fees range from 0.5 – 1%. Cash-out fees at agent points range from 0.8% to 1.85% of the total amount. Among those providers that offer cash-out at their ATMs, two of them offer the service free of charge, while two charge a fee, whereas pricing strategies for cashing out at bank branches range from free, to a flat fee, to a percentage charge. Unlike other markets where P2P transfer fees often vary based on the size of the transaction, all of the providers surveyed in Bangladesh charge a flat fee ranging from BDT 3 to BDT 5. Bill and merchant payments are free to the customer across the providers highlighted, although the collection settlement fee paid by business receiving these payments ranges from 0.25% to 2%.

Service Offerings

Although MFS in Bangladesh was initially seen by consumers as a cash transfer service, this is beginning to change. Airtime top up, which is offered by most providers, appears to be gaining increased acceptance because of the convenience it offers without any additional charge.

Other types of services, such as utility bill payment, salary payment, payment collection, merchant payment, and savings schemes are also available on the market, although they appear to be less used by customers at the moment. Many of the providers are also working to link their mobile accounts to other banking products that they and other banks offer.

Agent Networks

MFS agents work like a bank branch for the customers. Banks mainly depend on them for the business. The agents facilitate customer registration and cash-in/ cash-out transactions. Number of agents over the period of time is shown in the following figure.

Currently most of the providers provide a commission ranging from BDT 20- 25 to agents for signing up new customers which was higher than BDT 50 two years ago. Agents also coordinate with the branches of the partner banks to process customer documentation, although in some cases, distributors or super agents are taking over this responsibility.

This graph highlights the rapid growth of this space in a very short time. At the end of 2016 total number of agents were 7,10,026. It is seen that the majority of agents in Bangladesh are not exclusive, many agents represent multiple providers. Therefore, the actual number of agents is likely much less than the reported total. It is also found that on an average one agent provides services to 1.85 providers. As a result the number of total unique agents would actually only be 3,83,797. In terms of agent numbers, bKash is the market leader, followed by DBBL. It is seen that only 2% agents are female and 49% agents are working in the rural areas. Furthermore, it is seen that most of the agents in Bangladesh are non-dedicated and have alternate revenue streams beyond what they earn from being an MFS agent. From the previous graph we see that most of the agents are business man (65%) and they are providing MFS as their secondary business. A number of students is also engaged in this service (18%). The income level of the agents are shown in the following figure.

Overall satisfaction of agents with respect to financial and social parameters is shown in the graph. It is seen that social security and customer handling is a great challenge for them. But considering all factors agents are found very happy regarding their business.

Customer’s Response

This study also considered education and income level including occupation of the respondents to see actually what types of people are getting benefits from MFSs.

Level of education: About 6% of the MFSs users completed their master’s degree, another 18% have bachelor’s degrees, 16.2% completed higher secondary school, 18% have completed secondary school and 19.9% completed primary education. 21.7% respondents have no literacy at all.

 

Income Level:

 

The majority of interviewees (31.4%) earn between BDT 20,000-50,000 per month, whereas 9.2% earn less than BDT 5000 per month. About 27.4% earn BDT 10,000-20,000. Interestingly, 3.5% of beneficiaries surveyed earn more than BDT 1,00,000 permonth.

 

 

Occupation: Among the respondents surveyed, the most common professions are business, which accounted for 34.3% of all respondents, followed by students (15.1%), private service (12.8) day laborer (11.9%), farmers (7.4%), govt. service (6.9%), and housewives (10%). It is worth noting that respondents self-identified their occupations, and it is possible that some of those individuals who identified as housewives are also engaged in some sort of income generating activity.

Perceptions of users about MFS
By large margins, MFS users agreed that the services are available, secured, easy, and convenient, as can be seen in the relevant graph. Although a majority of respondents (90%) noted that MFS is not cost effective, which shows that the cost of MFS remains a concern for majority of the users.

Challenges faced by the users
It is observed that poor access to MFS customer care services, in terms of responsiveness of call centers and availability of in-person support is a concern by the customers. Sometimes the USSD menu “times out” when they are executing a transaction, and they are unsure if the transaction was completed. If they try to execute the transaction again, they worry that it might go through twice. Some participants also noted that the pressure to complete a transaction before it “times out” can sometimes lead them to rush and make mistakes, such as inputting the wrong PIN. Concerns about the practices of some agents were also raised, such as refusing to process small cash-outs, overcharging, and failure to give a receipt. The latter two are primarily an issue with OTC transactions. It is seen that the MFS menus are hard to navigate, particularly among beneficiaries due to lower levels of English literacy.

MFS preferences for prospective users
The respondents who are not using MFSs were asked to select the factors for which they are not using this service. The results reveal that security is by far the most important factor by 65% of non-users. Related to that, the second and third factor is related to operation and awareness of MFSs. The fourth factor is language barrier.

Factors that affect the adoption of MFSs
Distance, time and Cost are the most important factors that influence financial inclusion as well as financial access of products and services provided by financial institutes.The most important factor found is the distances required to travel to a financial access point.
Distance: It is seen that 74% of the MFS users have access to an agent within one kilometer. On the contrary, only 19% of bank account holders have a bank branch within the same distance. Most of the ATMs are available within 2 to 10 km. Maximum MFIs are reachable within 1 to 5 km. To access a post office, a user has to travel more compared to others access points of financial services.

Travelling cost: About 53% of MFS users do not incur any costs to travel to an MFS agent point; whereas only 23% of the bank account holders’ can visit their bank branches without any cost. On the other hand, 61% of bank account holders have to spend more than BDT 10 to travel round trip to go to a bank branch, but only 23% MFS users need to spend that amount to visit an MFS agent point.

Travel time: Among MFS users, 74% noted that it takes them less than 30 minutes round trip to their nearest MFS agent point, a figure that drops to only 55% for bank account holders. On the other hand, 81% of bank account users have to spend more than 30 minutes’ round trip to travel to a bank branch, while only 26% of MFS users need that amount of time to visit an MFS agent point.

Impact of MFSs on financial inclusion
A major parameter that is used to calculate Financial Inclusion worldwide is the Geographical Penetration which considers the number of financial access points per 1000 square kilometers.

In terms of demographic penetration, the number of financial access points per 100,000 people is measured. The graph ‘Demographic Penetration of Banking Services’ also shows the contribution of MFSs on Financial Inclusion.

OPPORTUNITIES
High Potential Market: MFS service providers should consider expanding their awareness raising efforts to promote their full suite of services—not just P2P transfers. In addition, they may need to improve their agent training programs to ensure that agents are better equipped to train customers on how to use these services. They can train their customers so that they are more aware of and capable of using MFS products. This includes not only basic awareness and training of how to use services, but also on their rights as customers, knowledge of standard pricing (and how to deal with agents who try to charge them extra), keeping their accounts secure (i.e. not sharing their PIN), and the value of using MFS beyond just cash-in, cash-out, and P2P transfers (Bangladesh Bank FSR Money Transfer). Particular attention should be paid to communicating the true cost of MFS as compared to other means, when other factors such as travel costs and wasted time are included. This type of cost/benefit analysis may help them understand the true potential of MFS as compared to cash. One easy entry point to promoting MFS as more than just a money transfer mechanism, could be promoting its use as a savings instrument, particularly given the high number of respondents interested in saving. This would also help to reduce the incidence of OTC transactions, and increase genuine financial inclusion, as people begin to see MFS as being more than just a transfer service.

Innovate new MFS products and services: Besides, MFS in Bangladesh are much focused on mobile remittance like sending money to or receiving from an individual, person-to-person, intra- or inter-national akin to courier service. MFS in Bangladesh has little growth into two other types – mobile payment and mobile banking; where mobile payment is paying for goods and services like shopping, paying bills, etc. and mobile banking is withdrawals, transfers and other transactions on actual bank accounts. While most of the MFS providers have already offered a number of services beyond just transfers, the extent of their availability is still limited, particularly in the rural areas. The expanded roll out of payment services, including bills, school fees, and merchant purchases, is important to driving further uptake of mobile wallets and reducing OTC usage. In addition to expanding payment options, mobile-based credit services should also be explored. Introducing micro credit/loan services could help to bridge the gap in formal credit access.

Increase partnerships with MFI: Mobile financial services present an opportunity for partnerships wherein banks can leverage the outreach of MFIs. In order to increase active customer rate, providers may need to segment their potential customer base, understand their financial behavior and then design product and services accordingly. Of all the segments, MFIs and their customer base appears to have the potential to support the growth. This is because MFIs have experience in making financial transactions, they understand the financial behavior of the low income segment, and they already have established networks of branches in rural locations. The biggest advantage of having MFI customers using a mobile wallet is that all of them will be active customers because they will make at least one repayment transaction every month.

Increase salary disbursement with less cost: A number of survey further shows that garments workers and low income employees are not interested in opening mobile bank account amid most of them use MFS for sending remittance, mostly, however, through OTC transactions. More interestingly, very few of them have own MFS account and almost none of them wants to receive their own salary through MFS, amid most of 4 million garments workers not being covered by formal banking.

CHALLENGES

With huge potential and benefits MFS has some challenges as well. The biggest challenge is the Recent Trends in fraud, extortion and social crime through the use of MFSs.

Fraud, extortion and social crime: According to Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), it is very easy to open an MFS account with fake identity. Money laundering is mostly done through mobile accounts registered with fake identity. An investigator from CID, Bangladesh Police, observed: ‘While we ask for KYC (know your customer) information during investigation of any relevant crime, 99 out of 100 KYCs are turned out to be with false registration. Of course, if criminals have easy opportunity to open mobile account with fake names, why they will open account exposing their real names?’ Agents simply ignore maintaining minimum CDD (customer’s due diligence) during opening an account, nonetheless, Bangladesh law authorize only dealing banks to open a new account(CID, Bangladesh Police, 2015).
In spite of the directions given by the central bank as well as of its own employer on MFS transaction process, it is seen that MFS agent avoided the central banks’ instruction on maximum limits in sending money. It may be turn into an offence of money laundering done sometimes by both the MFS agent. Agents also engaged into a predicate offence – mostly fraud or extortion with promising falsely as thieves’ representatives to return victim’s stolen vehicle. The recent most-discussed Thailand-focused Teknaf-based Human Trafficking group also widely utilized MFS agent as their ‘accountant’ in collecting ransom money (The Daily Star, 2015).

OTC TRANSACTIONS (TRANSACTIONS WITHOUT HAVING A MOBILE BANKING ACCOUNT)

Over The Counter (OTC) transaction becomes a widely practiced irregularity in MFS sector in Bangladesh, which is a serious problem and is considered as the root of many evils in mobile financial sectors. This also facilitates agents to charge customers illegally for cash-in and also seriously hinders MFS growth of mobile payment and mobile banking service. Research from the Financial Inclusion Insights program led by Inter Media found that MFS users are three times more likely to make a transaction OTC versus using a registered account. They found that just over 75% of all MFS users in Bangladesh in 2014 were OTC users, as opposed to less than 25% that are registered users. Compared to 2013, however, they found that registered use was growing while OTC use was static. In addition, among registered users, they found that 56% first began using MFS through an agent as OTC before opening their own wallet.

In this study a total of 7256 transactions all over the country were followed. It was found that about 78% of total transactions were OTC transactions. Another recent study of BIBM on ‘FI Initiatives of Bangladesh Bank: Evaluation and Challenges’ has shown that 74.19% are OTC transactions.

There are number of reasons as to why OTC transactions are prevalent in Bangladesh, and remain a challenge to address even with regulation. When an agent refuses to conduct a transaction in the absence of a mobile wallet, the customer has the option of going to an informal money transfer provider. The fear of losing that customer and the informal commission an agent can earn from the transaction often drives the agents towards offering OTC transactions. It is seen from this study that the going market rate that agents charge to make an OTC transaction is about 2% of the total amount sent. Given that agents generally only receive between BDT 20-25 from the provider for each new account they open, it can be more profitable to encourage people to send OTC, which potentially leads to ongoing profits for the agent, rather than encouraging them to open their own account, which is a one-time payment for the agent. Even though mobile phone penetration is significant in Bangladesh, a large portion of the population still uses mobile phones only to make and receive phone calls. When it comes to MFS, it may be perceived as being more technical and, particularly since it involves money, it may be considered risky. Using an agent is a way of distributing that risk to a professional. Since some users might not be comfortable in executing a transaction themselves, using an agent reduces their fear about using this technology.

According to Law Enforcement Agencies, agents themselves are actively involved in various kinds of active criminal activities including collecting ransom money by human trafficking, extortion, fraud by maintaining several hundred false or real accounts by themselves. Agents find no problems breaking laws regularly in order to make money. Their interest is in processing as many transactions as possible. MFS operators also fails to communicate the message to the community that money laundering is a serious issue that needs to be complied by everyone. The respective banks have grown their agent-networks so rapidly that the number of agents would challenge any regulatory regime.

It is also seen that media campaigns are not sufficient by banks to educate its stakeholders with genuine information, which is of course inconsistent with the instructions of the central bank, where it says, ‘Banks shall take appropriate measures  (may issu prer
guidelines for dealing customer service and customer education) to raise awareness and educate their customers and employees for using Mobile Financial Services (Bangladesh Bank, 2011, section 12.0, p-4).

A related yet distinct challenge to KYC (know your customer) or CDD (customer’s due diligence) is the increasing use of ATMs as a cash-out device. After getting the money in a fake account, criminals use ATMs to withdraw money easily escaping law enforcement agencies without visiting an agent.

According to police, MFS are far more likely to be used for payments within structured criminal groups and professional killers. Regular, intra-group payments would probably not be affected by transaction limits, nor would they necessarily be flagged by the mobile finance product’s e-monitoring systems. MFS could be of particular use to large organisations that operate in geographically disparate regions within a country, such as large ethnically organized criminal groups, drug traffickers and poachers/smugglers in wildlife (In Chittagong Hill Tract it is found by Law Enforcement Agencies that terrorists are using MFSs to collect and send money. Among the suspicious transactions identified by the Law Enforcement Agencies around 90% are being done by bKash agents and rest by other MFS providers). Such transactions are functionally more akin to terrorist finance, in that the sender of the funds is not necessarily seeking to disguise their origin, but rather to reimburse and deliver operational funding for criminal activities.

Mobile banking is being used heavily to collect money/ransom by the fraudsters, abductors/kidnappers, thieves, robbers and extortionist (by the name of ‘Jenier Badsha’ and top terrors). Some cases are cited here.

According CID, Bangladesh Police, bKash received around 500 requests from Law Enforcement Agencies and court-orders during June 2014 to April 2015. But, the real number of victims or incidents is undoubtedly much higher than the number of reported cases. Among the reported incidents, according to bKash, 169 were kidnap and ransom, 23 were extortion, 155 were fraud and 43 were snatching/theft/robbery/hijacking. Among the cases only 19 arrests were made and 21 were rescued. Nothing can allow banks to fail in providing authenticated information of its own clients that use their system to launder money or commit crime. The fact that criminals collect money using the infra-structure of an MFS and able to remain anonymous, is a big blow to the trustworthiness of Financial Institution and is simply not acceptable (CID, Bangladesh Police, 2015)

Lack of monitoring: Bangladesh Bank has issued a circular to discourage mobile payments made by individuals without a mobile wallet. To date, however, they are yet to devise a mechanism to properly monitor agents and take actions accordingly. The teams that are monitoring MFS is too small to monitor such a big and fast growing market. Moreover, it is not yet possible to detect a fake customer as most of the providers do not have access to the NID (NationalIdentity) database.

Make a KYC (know your customer)database: The current MFS regulations in Bangladesh have enabled an environment that has been conducive to MFS growth. The creation of a national KYC database only for bank could speed up the KYC process by giving MFS providers quicker access to information needed to verify customers. MFS providers should also be able to check whether an individual has already been verified through the KYC process conducted by another provider so that they can immediately approve accounts in those instances. Central bank can take the initiatives where all banks will contribute.

has already been verified through the KYC process conducted by another provider so that they can immediately approve accounts in those instances. Central bank can take the initiatives where all banks will contribute.

Ensure the participation of New Comers in the Market: Currently 19 banks have permission from Bangladesh Bank to provide MFSs. Out of them only 17 have started their operations. Among them only two are expanding the services, though 13 providers seem to increase their contribution. It requires big investment to set-up an MFS proposition and to scale up operations. Given that it is a longer term investment compared to other banking services, smaller banks are hesitant to come into the MFS space. Some of banks who have received permission from Bangladesh Bank are still undecided as to whether they will launch their service due to the cost factor. A special research can be done in this regard.

Interoperability: Interoperability among MFS providers through NPSB may help customers to transact with other MFS providers. As it currently stands, it is not possible to send money from an account on one MFS provider to an account on another MFS provider (i.e. to send money from a bKash to a DBBL account).

Coordination between Bangladesh Bank and BTRC: Some of the challenges that exist in regards to MFS providers’ dependence on using mobile phone channels, such as USSD, may require continued coordination between Bangladesh Bank and the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to ensure that both parties’ concerns are adequately addressed in a way that will maximize the quality and dependability of MFS products in Bangladesh.

Obey rules and regulations of the country: Criminals are widely using the opportunity of opening new account along with buying a SIM with fake registration. Agents’ due diligence is the crucial factor here. Agents must obey the existing laws. Necessary administrative or punitive measures must be taken for any of their illegal activities. Opening MFS account with false or fake documents should be strictly controlled. The original ID should be shown to agent during submission of a photo-copied one.

No real criteria or minimum qualification exists to recruit agents; no bar for an illiterate shop-keeper to become an agent entrusting to do the job of a well-trained educated banker for opening an account.The existing law of the land authorize only bank to open a new (mobile) account, though neither bank nor even its distributor has effective means to ensure the authenticity of an account holder.

Banks’ media campaign does not educate or wrongly educate their stakeholders (including their customers and prospective customers) on mandatory provisions of law. Mobile finance providers should engage in robust stakeholder education efforts, targeting consumers, agents, and government officials, with the aim of increasing knowledge of how mobile financial systems work, what their vulnerabilities are, how to mitigate them, and how they can be of net benefit to each type of stakeholder. Bank should be very careful in this regard to give the right message to the users.

Use fraud analytics software: Banks will also be required to ‘ensure that suspect transactions can be isolated for subsequent investigation’ and are to ‘develop an IT based automated system to identify suspicious activity/transaction report (STR/SAR) before introducing the services, and also are to immediately report to Anti-Money Laundering Department of Bangladesh Bank regarding any suspicious, unusual or doubtful transactions likely to be related to money laundering or terrorist financing activities.

EXPECTATIONS AND THE FUTURE

In Bangladesh, expansion of financial inclusion is urgently needed for further financial deepening in the country in order to achieve desired economic development. The traditional approach financial inclusion was limited to expansion of branches of commercial banks to the rural area and materialization of new ideas in cooperative societies. New technologies, like mobile phone, came up with huge opportunities for branchless banking covering the whole country and bypassing the digital divide between urban and rural people.

In this regard Mobile Financial Services (MFS) opened up a new window for Bangladesh for FI. Introduction of MFSs by Bangladesh Bank has brought a large number of un-banked/under-banked socially disadvantaged people into the financial system covering remote areas at an affordable cost. It is seen that financial inclusion through these approaches has been scaled up significantly .Although much progress has been achieved in financial inclusion in Bangladesh due to the MFSs, a large segment of poor people both in rural and urban areas, including women, are still excluded from financial services, which is a great challenge for policy makers and financial services providers. MFS opened a new window to us and by introducing innovative new products and services specially targeting to this group may help to bring them under financial system.

It is seen that increasing access to financial services for Bangladeshis, especially for the rural poor, is critical for enabling them to adopt new and more productive income earningopportunities and technologies.

This access will increase their chances of moving out of poverty. In this respect, the government’s strategy should aim to capitalize on rapid advances in mobile communications and digital payment systems to connect poor households to affordable and reliable financial services.

Adopting an effective strategy may help poor households to increase their access to effective digital financial services for savings, payments, credit, and insurance—especially at critical moments. It is noted that for the poor, access to financial services would support them to: successfully adopt new farming technologies, invest in new business opportunities, or find new and more productive jobs. At the same time, access to digital financial services would prevent a large number of people from falling back into poverty or into deeper poverty due to health problems, financial setbacks, and other shocks.

Crime targeting mobile finance users is a continuing challenge. These crimes that include fraud, extortion,
and bribery are generally notnew, but are, by and large, assisted by mobile finance products (Bangladesh Police, 2015). Though each and every SIM is verified biometrically, fake SIM registration still prevails and being used by the criminals.

KYC information of all accounts of MFSs must be verified again with sincere effort to control criminal activities. Bangladesh Bank may take necessary steps to ensure this verification. Though, Bangladesh has a strong law to regulate mobile financial sector; according to Law Enforcement Agencies, implementation of law is yet to achieve up to a minimum

standard in MFS sector. There is a big gap between how MFS should work as per existing rules and regulations, and how it is really working.

The present state of Mobile Financial Services (MFS) in Bangladesh is the result of very sincere and integrated effort of the Government and that of the central bank. As all the central banks in the world are looking for a way out from cash and achieve a universal banking solution, where MFS can present us a cashless and boundless society, Bangladesh become one of the pioneers in the world for Bank-led model. Keeping in mind that there are enormous opportunities in MFS; however, failure in providing necessary protections to protect the interest of the state as well as of the various stakeholders including consumers will seriously hamper the prospective progress in the MFS sector.


 

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