Aggregate digital payments in Bangladesh crossed Tk 78,054 billion in a nearly 37-percent growth year on year in the past fiscal, marking a quantum leap in the transition.
People familiar with the development told the FE that such banking got a shot in the arm during the covid-19 crisis period and now widened fast for being more convenient and cost-effective.
A UN platform named 'Better Than Cash Alliance' in its latest report said Bangladesh's annual GDP would increase by 1.7 per cent once the payment system is made fully digital.
In the meantime, the country's most preferred payment mode in terms of volume of funds was RTGS (real-time gross settlement) with transactions made over Tk 34,320 billion, followed by BACPS high- value cheque.
The RTGS usually handles large amounts of money while the BACPS (Bangladesh Automated Cheque Processing System) high-value cheque handles more than Tk 500,000 worth of cheques.
The BACPS regular value cheques consisting of less than Tk 500,000 stood third-largest one in the digital payments amounting to Tk 9,236 billon.
Mobile financial system or MFS transactions, however, got positioned in the fourth in terms of value at Tk 8,564 billion.
However, in terms of percentage, POS (point of sales) transactions--debit card (overseas transactions) grew by an exponential 300 per cent to Tk 1.6 billion followed by e-commerce debit-card transactions (abroad) to Tk 1.8 billion.
The internet banking grew by 260 per cent to Tk. 335.4 billion in the fiscal year 2021-2022.
The ATM transactions, both by debit and credit cards, grew over 88 per cent to Tk 2,985.8 billion.
Syed Mahbubur Rahman, managing director and CEO at Mutual Trust Bank (MTB), told The Financial Express that the digital transactions have been surging since the Covid-19 outbreak that restricted in-person activity.
''Its growth was slow earlier, but clients feel that they are more convenient and cost-effective after the corona."
He said MTB has now partnered many online shops to attract the customers to the alternative channels.
Mr. Rahman said the central bank of Bangladesh initiated many steps to popularize the digital platforms.
He also forecasts that such trend might continue in the days ahead as people are getting the real taste of banking.
"They can avoid the traffic jam and attend their busy schedule," Mr. Rahman said about the virtues of virtual babking.
Shamsuddin Haider Dalim, head of corporate communications at bKash, a popular MFS in Bangladesh, said that the covid situation had forced many to go through the digital platforms and this has now been new practice in transactions.
"Remittance inflow, eid and pickingup in economic activities are the main reasons behind the rise in MFS transactions," the executive said.
This digital system is drawing more people to the formal payment network.