Where are we going with the E-payment system?
The world is becoming faster every day and time has become more valuable than ever. To cope, Bangladesh’s financial sector needs a concrete and stable E-payment system that should ensure even faster money transferring between business to business and between individuals to business; that too effortlessly. This is not just going to help the business arena but also facilitate people from various communities and interest groups of the country. A quick money transfer system saves time and eliminates risks in carrying the cash; that too in a society where hijacking has become regular than occasional.
Bangladesh Bank has taken a few initiatives to establish quick and safe payment system since 2006. As consequences, electronic methods of payment started to become popular. People are now paying bills and performing maximum money transaction using Debit/Credit cards, Internet or mobile phones. Bangladesh Bank introduced a partnership with the Department for International Development, UK in 2006 to modernize the payment system of Bangladesh. Upon the agreement, the Bangladesh Automated Clearing House was initiated. It is an internationally acclaimed method for electronic money transaction. There are two parts of Bangladesh Automated Clearing House – the Bangladesh Automated Cheque Processing System and the Bangladesh Electronic Funds Transfer Network. The former started in 2010 and the latter started in 2011. This process is completely safe and speedy but still unknown to people. Nevertheless, the Bangladesh Electronic Funds Transfer Network needs a lot of publicity because people are not aware of its existence. Bangladesh Bank has also signed a contact with the mobile phone operators and 11 commercial banks for Mobile Based Payment System.
Currently, most commercial banks of Bangladesh have an ATM system. Their ATM booths are spread all over the country. For obvious reasons, more and more banks are initiating added ATMs. To supplement the progress, Bangladesh Bank introduced a SWTICH option. The benefit is, a customer of one bank can go to the ATM booth of another bank and use their ATM card to withdraw money. Movement of cash has got a momentum due to this step. To further enhance the process, a single-point-station for all internet based transaction and e-commerce throughout the country is expected to start in 2013. However, a problem with mindset still perseveres. Many people still prefer the ‘old-school’ method of transferring money using cash because they do not trust the modern system. Financial institutions and their selective PR agencies should work on it. Dutch-Bangla Bank is doing a good job here with its newspaper and television ads. Other banks should come up as well.
It is a fact that some people are still reluctant to use internet banking. And they have a few valid reasons. Identity theft is not an uncommon phenomenon. People may lose money because of the numerous glitches in the system. To overcome this problem, initiatives such as Digital Signature are being taken so that people can trust electronic transaction without a shade of doubt. Banks and mobile operators are also taking measures to assure full security to customers’ money. HSBC’s attempt to evaporate this problem can be considered by other backs. HSBC Bangladesh has given a device to the clients that give a security code every time a client enters the internet banking platform. So his / her account cannot be accessed by hackers unless the device is at their (hackers) hand.
Pay Pal has not put its foot in Bangladesh yet. Freelancers those are working for companies across the globe were quite vocal on this issue for last few years. The Bangladesh Bank finally started the process of allowing Pay Pal to start operation in the country. Hopefully by the end of this year, Pay Pal will be fully operational in the country. That will give another boost to the E-payment scenario; more and more people will join the e- bandwagon.
Undeniably, a quick and safe payment system is an important part in an economy’s growth. The western countries have fully adopted e-payment system in their daily lives. A developing country like Bangladesh needs one and the progress in last few years is encouraging enough to state that the future is bright!