The Bangladesh Bank (BB) launched 'Cashless Bangladesh, Smart Bangladesh' campaign from the capital's Motijheel area on Wednesday to bring small/micro merchants, like street vendors, under a low-cost payment system.
The campaign is part of the idea to popularise an interoperable Bangla QR Code across the capital that will help clients pay their bills for goods and services through mobile banking applications, mobile financial services (MFS), and payment service providers (PSP).
Initially, the initiative will cover some 1,200 small merchants in the capital's Motijheel commercial area. Later, it will be replicated in other areas of the country in phases.
The central bank's campaign will promote cost-effective, secured and card-less digital transactions in an economy that almost entirely relies on paper currencies.
Ten banks, three MFS providers, and three card-based PSPs are taking part in it.
When contacted, BB spokesperson Md Mezbaul Haque said people in many cases clear payment of their purchased goods through MFS as well as debit and credit cards. But a significant investment is required to develop digital payment infrastructure and maintain those.
"It is too costly for the small merchants. That's why digital payment system has not progressed yet at the remote level."
He noted that the central bank launched the low-cost digital payment mechanism, under which clients can pay for whatever they buy from small merchants through scanning the printed interoperable Bangla QR Code - available with the roadside vendors.
"It's very cheap and will help the banks to get daily transaction-related data of the vendors and can allow them to get formal credit based on that. So, it's a good opportunity for the small merchants."
The BB spokesperson added that the central bank has a plan to replicate the innovative move, if it is successful, in other areas of the country in phases.