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Freelancers look to PayPal boost to tap full potential

SM Najmus Sakib | February 28, 2018 00:00:00

The growing number of freelancers across the country reiterated their call for introducing full-fledged online payment service of PayPal in Bangladesh.

They, however, admitted to have witnessed some positive impacts of the Paypal's Xoom service launched in the country last year although a section of freelancers voiced concern as this service does not allow sending out money.

Echoing the view, industry insiders and experts say the full-fledged operation of PayPal will give a further boost to the country's fast-growing e-commerce business and freelancing.

It will also help bring in huge foreign remittance and do value addition to the national economy, thereby contributing to the national exchequer, they said.

On October 19 last year, the global payment giant launched its service on a limited scale only for receiving money in Bangladesh from abroad, which helped check hundi or illegal fund transfer and corruption.

The Xoom service was in operation previously in the form of a separate entity, and PayPal bought it in 2015 as its cross-border payment service.

In Bangladesh, freelancers now can use the PayPal's Xoom service from nearly 12,000 branches of nine banks, including Sonali, Rupali, Agrani, Uttara, Pubali and Social Islami banks.

Local users have to pay $4.99 as charge to receive up to $1,000. But any transactions amounting to over $1,000 can be made free of cost.

At present, Xoom account users in Bangladesh can receive up to $10,000 in a single transaction.

Xoom's official website stipulates that one cannot use his/her PayPal balance to pay for a Xoom transaction as Xoom only supports international money transfers.

Most local IT freelancers, hired by US-based firms and clients, prefer to use trusted platforms or marketplaces like PayPal as it is considered to be one of the most accepted and integrated payment methods.

Asked, Alim Tasnim, owner of the Advance IT Centre, a freelancing training centre, appreciated the government for launching the Xoom service in the country.

But in many cases, he pointed out, Bangladeshi freelancers fail to get a client for not having a PayPal account.

According to him, nearly 80 per cent of the country's freelancers are engaged in IT freelancing through trusted platforms but PayPal's Xoom has limited access to them.

PayPal is, in fact, a digital payment system while Xoom is an online money transfer system, he said.

When asked, Sonali Bank CEO and Managing Director Obayed Ullah Al Masud said his bank has been receiving increased amount of foreign remittance following the launching of Xoom service.

Sonali Bank has received Tk 87.0 million through Xoom service during the period of April-December last year, he said.

About the full-fledged service of PayPal, State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak said talks are going on with PayPal to launch further operations.

Apparently, he noted, a certain level of development has been made, but it will take time to get full-fledged operation of PayPal here.

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