Bangladesh’s Mobile Financial Services (MFS) have seen significant fluctuations in its number of users over the last three months. In April of this year, the number of active MFS accounts was 2.55 crore, which dropped to 2.14 crore in May. However, it later increased to 2.74 crore in June. That means, despite the 41 lac dip in the number of active accounts in May, it rose by 60 lac in June. This information was found in the latest statistics published by Bangladesh Bank about MFS.
Industry specialists say that the Bangladesh Bank has recently taken some regulatory steps to stop illegal transfer of remittances and prevent fraudulent activities in the country through the use of MFS. Due to this reason, the active number of accounts hit a 27% drop in May. But during June, which also coincided with the month of Ramadan, 11 lac new accounts were opened to facilitate the seasonal increase in financial transactions. Discounts of up to 20% on purchases offered by various MFS providers encouraged many users to open new accounts.
BKash Head of Corporate Affairs, Shamsuddin Haider mentioned in an interview that the number of active MFS accounts experience a surge every year; this year was no exception. Earlier, several active accounts had been closed in connection with remittance or fraud, the effects of which can be seen in the May statistics.
To prevent illegal withdrawals through MFS, Bangladesh Bank reduced the transaction limit of MFS in January last year to avert remittances coming in illegally. According to the new rules, an MFS account can now be used to withdraw amounts up to a maximum of Tk 10,000 in a day, which was Tk 25,000 previously. Experts believe that this reduction in withdrawal limit might be contributing to the increase in the number of active accounts.
According to Bangladesh Bank statistics, MFS, daily transactions in June exceeded Tk 1,000 crore on average. The average daily transaction in May and April were Tk 844 crore and BDT 834 crore respectively. In June, the total financial transaction through MFS was Tk 30,000 crore, which was Tk 26,000 crore in May.
In addition to the active accounts, the number of MFS accounts registered in June increased by 11 lac to 5 crore 37 lac in total. At the same time, the increase in the payment of salaries of workers through mobile phones rose 59%. In June, Tk 666 crore worth of wages were paid using MFS, which was Tk 419 crore in the previous month.