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Friday, October 30, 2020

Secure and cost-effective MFS needed for banking at marginal level

A CONSUMER association has urged the authorities concerned for strengthening interoperability facility among mobile financial service (MFS) providers and demanded withdrawal of service charges. The 'Bangladesh Mobile Phone Consumer Association' made the demand in a media statement on Wednesday on the eve of the new service being launched, as per a local daily report.
Mohiuddin Ahmed, president of the association, said MFS is the country's only medium of monetary transaction that is very easy to use up to the marginal level. The country started mobile banking service in 2010 which has now stood second globally and first in Asia. At present, the number of subscribers to this service is more than 90 million. The number of agents has exceeded one million.
In August alone, Tk 410 billion was transacted through this service, according to the statement. Remittance through this service was Tk 1.04 billion, Tk 10.63 billion was paid in salaries and allowances, and Tk 9.08 billion in gas and electricity bills. Mr Ahmed said the government has initiated to remove all barriers to this service and introduce interconnection or inter-transaction with banks through an interoperability facility. The service, however, could not be launched on Wednesday due to a technical glitch on part of the Bangladesh Bank.
The number of retailers countrywide is around one million but all these retailers do not have adequate training and security measures. Thus, innumerable customers are constantly falling prey to hackers. So the banks should provide adequate training and cyber security, keep charges low and security of transactions high.
It is no mystery that those people who cashed out a big amount of money were often called by scammers. This occurred due to corrupt agents who would give these numbers to the criminals in return for money. So its essential also that these fraud agents be found out and withdrawn from the system.
Ultimately MFS will survive in Bangladesh if the firms can make profits. The bottom line of who be regulating the amount of profits -- whether it should be left to the government, or the firms, is a complex matter. If the government regulates and only ensures a minimum profit the firms will close operations and the people will suffer. On the other hand the firms should not be allowed to make excessive profits. So the government should audit their financial records carefully if it decides to reduce their charges.