BD boarding interoperable payment platform for building less-cash society

Banks being linked with MFS thru national payment switch

Sunday, 10 December 2017

FE Report
Bangladesh moves to board an interoperable payment platform to build up a less-cash society gradually through reducing or discouraging cash transaction, suiting a fast-emerging global knowledge economy.
As part of the move, the central bank has already established the interoperability of internet banking based on its national payment switch among five banks, according to officials.
Interoperability stands for the ability of different systems to connect with one another.
Besides, the Bangladesh Bank (BB) is now working to set up the interoperability between banks and mobile financial services (MFS) shortly, they added.
"We're working to establish the interoperable payment platform by June next calendar year," SK Sur Chowdhoury, deputy governor of the BB, said while replying to a query at a seminar at the 'Digital World-2017' exposition at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka on Saturday.
The seminar, titled 'The prospect and challenges of digital currency in Bangladesh', was organized by the CTO Forum Bangladesh.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated Wednesday the 'Digital World' aimed at showcasing the progress in Bangladesh's IT industry.
The deputy governor further disclosed that the central bank is also planning to introduce digital wallet to facilitate digital payment in Bangladesh.
"We're enjoying three dividends - demographic, population density, and IT-which help in building up digital Bangladesh," he explained.
Highlighting different aspects of digital currency, senior bankers and experts said interoperability among the digital payment channels would ensure clients' benefits, facilitate competition based on product innovation and accelerate the growth of a digital finance ecosystem.
They also expected that the move would facilitate the ongoing financial- inclusion initiative through bringing more un-banked people into the banking network.
The speakers suggested that the use of cash be cut down or discouraged gradually as they said that 'cash is our biggest enemy'.
The uses of both credit and debit cards, also referred to as plastic money, are showing an uptick despite lack of adequate infrastructure facilities, particularly in rural areas of Bangladesh, as the present-day world is going digital.
Currently, 9.0 million debit cards are being used across the country while the number of issued credit cards stood at around 1.0 million, according to market operators.
Among others, Chief Executive Officer of SureCash Shahadat Khan, IT Manager of Access to Information (a2i) Programme at Prime Minister's Office Mohammad Arfe Elahi, Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of Pubali Bank Limited Mohammad Ali, DMD of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) Taher Ahmed Chowdhury, General Manager of the BB Debdulal Roy and Head of IT of the Commercial Bank of Ceylon Ijazul Haque also spoke on the occasion.
Founder-president of the CTO Forum Bangladesh Tapan Kanti Sarkar presided over the programme on the closing day of the Digital World exposition, where world's first robot-girl Sophia created quite a stir through her artificially-generated human intelligence.
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