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July 25, 2011

BRAC Bank's bKash Introduces Mobile Banking Services In Bangladesh
By Calvin Azuri
TMCnet Contributor

bKash Limited, a BRAC Bank subsidiary and Bangladesh’s first complete mobile financial service provider announced the launch of its mobile banking operation. bKash offers both bank customers and the unbanked population of Bangladesh financial services through mobile phones. The company's offering presents a safe place to store money and a secure channel to make payments and carry out money transfers.

"bKash provides a wonderful opportunity for millions of unbanked people who have a cell phone to have a bank account where they will be able to deposit, pay out and transfer funds as they wish safely and securely,” said Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, chairperson and founder of BRAC and the special guest of honor at the event, in a release.

Customers are provided with a fully encrypted bKash mobile wallet account, which has been developed on a VISA technology platform to enable secure transactions. Customers accounts can be credited with electronic money either as salary, loan, or as domestic remittance. The cash can then be moved out as electronic money to any of the cash out agents assigned by bKash.

 “With the backing of leading players in the field, bKash has the scale and expertise to deliver a service that the majority of Bangladeshis desperately need. We will evolve with the needs of individuals, businesses and communities,” said Kamal Quadir, CEO of bKash.

bKash has partnered with mobile operator Robi Axiata Limited and with BRAC to expand the scope of its services through Bangladesh. The company has already employed 500 agents and is in the process of adding more agents to its network. bKash has also entered into agreements with LGD and A2I for use of their 4501 Union Information & Service Centers to help expand its financial services even to people who currently don’t have access to banks.

“bKash presents a compelling business plan which capitalizes on a ripe economy to dramatically expand access to formal financial services, both as an extension of BBL and as a full- scale mobile phone-based payments switch. This will highly benefit the country as 83% of the population lives under $2 a day and access for finance can help in improving the economic situation,” said Rumee Ali, chairman of BRAC Bank and bKash.

Michael Kuehner, managing director and CEO of Robi Axiata, explained that the partnership between a dedicated mobile financial service and a mobile operator will help in revolutionizing payment solutions and services for customers.

“bKash will fundamentally change the way people now do transactions. Customers will not need to come to the bank, rather the bank will come to their place,” said Syed Mahbubur Rahman, managing director & CEO of BRAC Bank.

Calvin Azuri is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Calvin’s articles, please visit his columnist page.


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