November 2, 2009

Online banking begins in Bangladesh

Banking in Bangladesh entered a new era with the commencement of online payment system introduced by the country’s central bank. It facilitates fund transfers and payment of utility bills on the net.

The new move allows people to use local currency credit cards for online transactions within the country.

Although these services are being introduced by the Bangladesh Bank on a small scale, it is seen as the first step toward full-fledged online banking.

It will enhance the use of e-commerce and online banking services, facilitating subscribers of all commercial banks in Bangladesh.

“Hassles are about to be over. Shoppers will no longer have to go to market spending hours in traffic jams. One does not need to stand in long queues to pay utility bills. All are now possible on the Internet,” The Daily Star said Tuesday.

The central bank issued a circular to all commercial banks,
saying subscribers to Internet banking will now be able to pay utility bills online from customers’ accounts to billing accounts.

“This will create a revolution in e-commerce and online banking,” said Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman.

Online fund transfer between two accounts under the same name in the same bank will also be possible.

The circular mentioned that e-commerce-based transaction between buyers and sellers can also be done through Internet banking. Online transactions by credit card in local currency will also be possible.

“This is the first and the most significant step towards electronic transaction in the country,” Munir Hasan, consultant to the Access to Information (A2I) project under the Prime Minister’s Office, told the newspaper.

Vice Chairman of Association of Bankers Bangladesh Nurul Amin, also managing director of National Credit and Commerce Bank Ltd, said: “Banks need to be prepared for offering such services. Customisation and integration are necessary for this purpose.”

Security measures along with a legal framework need to be put in place to safeguard both customers and banks, he added.

“We collect payment manually from 300-400 clients every day. The system consumes huge time and money. Now we are ready to start online payment collection on a pilot basis. We were waiting for this to happen for quite long,” said Fahim Mashroor, chief executive officer of


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