Cashless Society: A New Way of Life

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TAP expands the scope and possibilities of MFS services in Bangladesh.


FROM PAPER TO SMARTPHONE

Once upon a time, sending money was a time-consuming matter, and could take up to days. This was primarily due to the lack of advanced communication and security measures. These pain points were once a common part of everyday life, but after the introduction of banking services, the situation gradually improved. Then came mobile financial services (MFS), which substantially improved accessibility and increased inclusivity.

LIFE MADE EASY WITH MFS

Whether exchanging money, ordering food, paying utility bills, recharging mobiles, or paying education fees, there is one name that has become a constant in everyone’s minds – Mobile Financial Services (MFS). For the past decade, this sector has made financial transactions for people of all professions, from the country’s urban to rural areas, easier and more efficient. It has brought various types of services to the palms of the people and has had a significant impact on business and commerce, in the form of increased volumes of transactions. This MFS sector is also a major contributor to the country’s economic development.

According to a report by Bangladesh Bank, the number of financial transactions through the MFS sector increased by 15.4% between 2021 and 2022. Dewan Nazmul Hasan, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the financial service-providing organisation Trust Axiata Pay (TAP), believes that it is taking Bangladesh towards a ‘cashless society’ like the developed world.

Trust Bank Limited of Bangladesh and Malaysia’s Axiata Digital have jointly launched a mobile financial service called ‘TAP’ or Trust Axiata Pay, starting on 28 July 2021, in Bangladesh through Trust Axiata Digital Limited (TADL). Over the past two years, the number of customers using TAP has increased to around 5 million.

‘Cashless society’ is a term that refers to a social system where there will be no use of hard cash, thereby eliminating the associated risks of cash transactions. The transactions will be done through digital means. TAP also wants to work as a partner to build a Smart Bangladesh. A group of young employees at TAP is working day and night, intending to create a cashless society to make digital transactions easier. Dewan Nazmul Hasan is leading these youngsters from the front.

Dewan Nazmul said, “25 years ago, people used to send money from one bank to another bank through a bank. Utility bills could not be paid without a bank before. Now, there is no need to go to the bank anymore. There has been progress step by step in this area since 2009.”

MFS was first introduced in Bangladesh as a medium of sending money. Soon afterwards, mobile recharge was added to its services and about four or five years ago, utility bill payments were added to the list. Since then, other payment services have started, such as paying for education fees and food. Even rickshaw fares can now be paid through MFS. TAP announced this new direction of transactions last year. Along with that TAP has come up with an easy way to give zakat to any madrasa or orphanage last year.

Dewan Nazmul says, “Everything is being done while staying at home; there is no need to go outside for them. Even remote communities have been able to receive financial services at their doorstep. In many cases, there is no need for cash. Low-interest loan facilities are available, which enable the underprivileged to repay the loan amount within a specified period and improve their financial situation.” The corporate personality claims that Bangladesh is advancing towards a cashless society using various digital mediums.


“MFS in Bangladesh is not only doing business for themselves. Each company has one or two lakh distributors, which has created job opportunities for many people. As a result, business is expanding. If transparent and healthy competition exists, MFS Service will play an outstanding role in building Digital Bangladesh with its new services.”


FROM ALERTNESS TO RESISTANCE

Although nowadays money is safe from theft and robberies, the MFS sector is still often at risk for various reasons. In this case, Dewan Nazmul has held the account holders responsible. According to him, many customers in rural areas do not protect the confidentiality of their PIN numbers, resulting in easy victimisation to fraud cases. But, in the case of the MFS service provided by TAP, devices are banded. This means, if someone shares their PIN, it cannot be used on another phone. The CEO of TAP says if one remains vigilant, it is possible to prevent these fraud cases.

Dewan Nazmul said, “MFS in Bangladesh is not only doing business for themselves. Each company has one or two lakh distributors, which has created job opportunities for many people. As a result, business is expanding. If transparent and healthy competition exists, MFS Service will play an outstanding role in building Digital Bangladesh with its new services.”

TAP aims to bring all earners of every sector under this service. TAP is successfully working for this purpose. TAP won the Best Innovation Award in March 2022 as a recognition for its work.

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