The central bank has allowed banks, mobile financial and payment service providers to open personal retail accounts of micro merchants to help them get digital payment against their sales of goods and services.
"We've taken the initiative to allow micro merchants and service providers to use the digital payment system for receiving their small payments, which would help build a cashless society in Bangladesh," a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), told the FE.
Under the new initiative, such accounts will be opened through direct supervision of officials or appointed agents of the banks as well as agent banking and financial service providers, according to a notice issued by the Bangladesh Bank (BB) on Monday.
This would require no tax identification numbers (TINs), value added tax (VAT) registration or any other documents except for the attestation from public representatives or certification from local professional bodies and national identification (NID) for opening such an account.
Professional certificates have to be collected from local public representatives or respective professional bodies considering the risk of clients, it noted.
Customers will not be allowed to continue his/her personal retail accounts along with the merchant accounts at the same time, the notice said.
Talking to the FE, another BB official said it will help enhance the coverage of the digital payment ecosystem at the lowest level of trade and commerce in Bangladesh.
He added it will also help expedite the financial inclusion initiatives through bringing more people into the formal digital payment ecosystem.
The central bank asked all banks to facilitate personal retail banking services from their banks as well as from their agent banking wing using their current account.
However, the balance must be within Tk 1.0 million at any time and the transaction must be within Tk 1.0 million in a month, according to the notification.
For MFS accounts, services like cash-in, fund transfer and add-money cannot be accessed from a personal retail account.
Money from such an account can be transferred to another retail account, merchant account, personal account, to the retailers' own bank accounts and the cash-out service.
There would be no limit to the number of transactions in receiving payments from personal accounts, retail accounts and merchant accounts.
However, retailers would be allowed to receive up to Tk 30,000 in a day and up to Tk 500,000 in a month from personal account and retail account while the monthly threshold for receiving money from retailers and merchants would be Tk 300,000.
The BB also imposed a limit on the payments, including send money, cash-out and retail-to-bank account from personal retail account while the limit to the balance on such accounts would be Tk 500,000.
The central bank also instructed all the payment operators to facilitate opening personal retail accounts by using their e-wallet service.
In this case, monthly transaction limit has been fixed at Tk 1.0 million while the balance in such account must in no way exceed Tk 0.5 million.
Tanvir A Mishuk, managing director of Nagad, a digital financial service arm of the Postal Department, welcomed the BB's step, saying it will help expedite the financial inclusion programme while digitising financial industries in Bangladesh.