Analysis: Is Bangladesh Ready to Move Towards a Cashless Society?
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the expansion of digital payments all over the world. Bangladesh too has witnessed robust growth in digital payments during the pandemic. The countrywide lockdown for more than three months has proved beneficial to such growth as people have become familiar with various digital payment systems.
The latest Bangladesh Bank data shows that credit card transactions rose 23.68 percent year-on-year to Tk 1,244 crore in September 2020 while debit card transactions saw 14.59 percent growth year-on-year. Moreover, monthly transactions through mobile phones in September this year were recorded at Tk 491.21 billion, 152 percent higher than the corresponding month of 2016.
Digital payment in Bangladesh, despite rapid advances in recent times, is still in its infancy. 71 percent of transactions are not yet carried out digitally in Bangladesh. A major portion of digital transactions eventually end in withdrawal of cash which defeats the purpose of cashless payment.
Photo courtesy of Jan Arendtsz.