Migrant workers and Bangladeshis living abroad sent Tk 2,427 crore via bKash in 2021, testifying to the growing popularity of the alternative payment/transfer channel among expats.
This means that the disbursement of remittances via bKash increased by 111% year-on-year in 2021, compared to Tk 1,151 crore in 2020.
Remittances sent by expats from over 70 countries arrive instantly in the bKash accounts of their loved ones through 75 Money Transfer Organizations (MTOs) via settlement at 12 commercial banks in Bangladesh.
Following on from the past years, remittance remittance via bKash is also increasing this year and is about to reach a new milestone. In the first eight months of this year, remittances of Tk 2,343 crore were paid out via bKash.
The service, which sends funds through mobile financial services (MFS) like bKash, has gained immense popularity in a short time thanks to its hassle-free process that allows expats to send money to loved ones without losing their precious time.
Meanwhile, receiving remittances via bKash is also convenient for relatives as they have the flexibility to use remittances in their bKash account whenever they want. Also, the ability to receive funds at any time from the comfort of home provides further relief to loved ones as they can avoid the hassle of withdrawing cash from a bank branch during opening hours or from an ATM.
“Before, my son used to send money to the bank from abroad. It cost him time to send money through the bank and it also took a lot of time for me because I had to go to a bank branch to withdraw money,” said Siddiqur Rahman of Chattogram. “But now whenever I need money, my son immediately sends it to my bKash account.”
“bKash is now a trusted platform that allows me to collect money sent by my son from abroad,” Rahman added.
The fund remittance service via bKash started a few years ago. It has grown rapidly by developing partnerships with major MTOs in many countries of the Bangladeshi Diaspora.
As a result, the volume of incoming remittances via bKash has increased significantly in a short time.
Five years ago, in 2018, bKash disbursed funds amounting to Tk 141 crore and it increased to Tk 271 crore in 2019.
bKash has recruited reputable MTOs so that expats can send money easily and faster. Some of them are Remitly, Taptap Send, WorldRemit, Wise, Ria, Merchantrade, Gulf Exchange, Bahrain Financing Company (BFC), Sonali Exchange, CBL Money Transfer, Agrani Exchange and NBL Exchange.
Apart from exchange offices or bank machines, expats can send money from anywhere and at any time using mobile apps and online platforms. And relatives of expatriates in Bangladesh receive money in their bKash accounts. Transactions are settled in foreign currency through 12 commercial banks in the country. Money is transferred from abroad to the country instantly. Expats or their relatives do not need to have a bank account to get money through bKash.
Ali Ahmmed, Commercial Director of bKash, said remittances sent by expats not only enrich their families but also the country’s economy.
“Hard-earned money from expatriates also plays an important role in increasing Bangladesh’s reserves in these tough times in the global economy,” he said.
He said MFS makes moving funds home easy and instant.
“Keeping these benefits in mind, initiatives should be taken to make it more convenient to send remittances to Bangladesh,” he added.
bKash not only facilitates easy remittance remittance, but has also offered a 1% incentive at various times in addition to the government’s 2.5%. Customers can use the money received through bKash according to their needs. One can spend this money by sending money to another bKash account, paying utility bills, school fees, shopping, mobile recharge, ticketing and many other purposes. Paying credit card bills and paying monthly installments of “savings” programs to financial institutions can also be done through bKash. If necessary, one can also “Cash Out” from agent points or ATMs.
Relatives of expats can withdraw money from around 3 lakh bKash agents spread across the country like human ATMs. Additionally, they can “Cash Out” from more than 1,500 ATMs of 13 major commercial banks.