BB fails to launch Interoperability for technical glitch

Bangladesh Bank has failed to launch the Interoperable transaction option among mobile financial service (MFS) providers and between them and banks as per schedule on Tuesday due to a technical glitch in its National Payment Switch Bangladesh (NPSB) system, official sources said.

A source at the central bank said that some of the MFS and banks were ready to launch the system on their part, but at the preparatory stage, a technical problem was detected in the system and the MFS and banks were asked to suspend their plans.

Bangladesh Bank spokesman Sirajul Islam was contacted on the issue for his comment, but did not respond.

Shamsuddin Haider Dalim, Head of Communication of bKash, a leading MFS provider, also said they were fully prepared to launch the service from Tuesday. “But we had to hold on following an instruction from the Bangladesh Bank.”

Some four MFS providers, including bKash of Brac Bank, MCash of Islami Bank, U-cash and Al Arafa Islami Bank’s Islamic Wallet, were set launch the Interoperable transaction from Tuesday on a pilot basis while others were asked gradually introduce the service by March 31 next year.

Sources in the banking industry said it is not clear when the Interoperable transaction among MFS and banks will be started.

A Bangladesh Bank circular, issued by its Payment System Department on October 22, said the interoperable transaction system will enable the MFS account holders to make “live financial transactions” among themselves and also with some banks.

“Once such a system is fully launched, any MFS account holder or bank account holder will be able to transfer money from and to each other’s account,” said an expert in the banking industry.

Bangladesh Bank said such initiative was taken in order to reduce the cash transactions through using infrastructure of the National Payment Switch Bangladesh (NPSB).

The central bank also directed the MFS and banks not to introduce any new charges on their customers for the new service.

Only the existing charges will be applicable on the customers, it said adding that the MFS and banks will charge a certain fee to be fixed by BB on the organisation level.

The Bangladesh Bank circular said that in case of P2P money transfer from an MFS to another MFS, the receiving MFS will pay a charge at 0.8 percent on the total amount to the sending MFS.

In case of transferring money from MFS to banks or banks to MFS, the MFS will pay a charge of 0.45 percent on the total amount to the concerned bank and it will take place in both the case of sending and receiving money, said the BB circular.

At present, there are 16 MFS in operation which provide mobile financial service to the people, which are getting popular day by day.

According to statistics of Bangladesh Bank, now 92.9 million people have an MFS account and some 1 million people are working as their agents across the country.

In August this year, some Tk 41,000 crore was transacted through MFS while Tk 104 crore was received as remittance from non-resident Bangladeshis through this service.

Different organisations have provided salary of Tk 1,063 crore to their employees through the MFS while payment of Tk 1060 crore was made to pay sellers by customers.

Customers of different utility services paid Tk 908 crore to the service providers as utility bills.

Currently, mobile financial service is being used for making different online payments for purchasing tickets, hotel bookings and also for mobile phone recharging, said the MFS industry insiders.

Source: United News of Bangladesh