87 percent card transactions are made through ATMs, involving a value of Tk13,762 crore a month, according to the Bangladesh Bank
Abduallah Shaikh happily came out of a bank's branch in Dhaka's Motijheel area after remitting some money to his father who lives in a village in Tangail.
A little later his father called him to confirm that he had received the money in his account at the bank's local branch. The bank had confirmed the credit transfer through a text message.
Abdullah's father withdrew the money almost instantly by using his Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card. Not long ago he used to be uncomfortable using ATMs.
The money transfer was very smooth as both the branches of the bank were online.
"See how technology has made banking so simple!" Abdullah, who works at a private firm in Dhaka, gave a smile.
At present, 87 percent of bank branches in the country are online, and eight percent are partially online. Only five percent branches do banking offline, according to the Bangladesh Bank.
And more importantly, 78 percent of rural branches of banks in Bangladesh are now online.
Apart from online banking, the spread of ATMs and mobile financial services have also made banking convenient.
The countrywide expansion of ATMs saves time and money as people no longer need to go to a bank branch in person and stand in a long queue during banking hours to withdraw money.
Now, there are 10,744 ATMs across the country. Up to November 2019, banks issued around two crore debit, credit and prepaid cards.
And 87 percent of card transactions are made through ATMs, involving an amount of Tk13,762 crore a month.
In October 2019 only, Tk15,480 crore was transacted through all types of banking cards.
The magic of e-payment
While Abdullah's father is happy to be able to withdraw money by using his debit card, Nazmul Hasan is one step ahead in using bank cards.
A senior executive at the Dhaka office of a global money transfer company, Nazmul frequently buys fashion products from shopping malls, and pays for them with his card through point of sales (POS) machines.
There are 56,173 POS machines being used in the country at various shops, restaurants and even at bank branches. POS transactions constitutes 10 percent of total card payment.
Nazmul also buys grocery and gadgets through e-commerce platforms. He even orders food online from restaurants when he is at his office.
But e-commerce is still at a growing stage in Bangladesh, and only two percent of total card payments are made through online buying platforms.
There are also some card users who pay with foreign currency. Payment through foreign currency was 1.6 percent in October 2019.
Nazmul said bank cheque clearing is now quicker because of a massive use of magnetic ink character recognition technology and electronic fund transfer.
"If I place a cheque at the bank before 12 noon, I can have it cleared the same day. This has become possible because of the Bangladesh Bank's automated clearing house facility," he said.
Central bank data shows that cheque pay-out through using magnetic ink character recognition was over Tk1.86 lakh crore in October last. On the other hand, only Tk910 crore was transacted through cheques that did not use the technology.
No need to go to the bank to transfer money
Faysal Bin Abdur Rahman, a senior official of a supply chain management company at Banani in the capital, said he does not even go to the bank to send money to his mother at Daulatpur in Khulna.
"Through internet banking it takes me only 30 seconds to transfer money to an account at the same bank, while it takes 24 hours in case of an account at a different bank," he said.
Last October, Tk15,754 crore was transferred through the electronic fund transfer system.
Faysal's colleagues also avoid going to banks or using cash deposit machines to pay monthly bills of their credit cards. They pay it through internet banking.
However, Tyeemul Haque, manager (operations) of a private firm at Dhanmondi, uses the facilities of cash deposit machines. He also does banking based on mobile phone applications.
Now, there are 1,403 cash deposit machines and 237 cash recycling machines, but all of them are in divisional cities only.
Tayeemul also gets his mobile wallet recharged while sitting at his desk by using the bank card.
And the mobile and agent banking
Ani Khatun, a housewife in Madaripur, receives a stipend through mobile banking for her little girl studying in a local primary school. Across the country, 49 percent (3.80 crore) of the mobile banking account holders are female.
Ani recently opened a savings account through a local agent banking outlet.
There are approximately 44.60 lakh agent banking accounts in the country, and 39 percent of them are owned by females. And, 71 percent of this particular type of bank account has been opened in rural areas.
Faruq Mainuddin Ahmed, managing director of Trust Bank, sees a huge positive impact of digital banking.
"People now get more time to work, because they get retail services without going to a bank. It definitely contributes to developing individual life and ultimately the economy," he said.