22 July 2011, Dhaka. Bangladesh’s first complete mobile financial service provider, bKash Limited, a BRAC Bank subsidiary, launched its operation yesterday. Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr. Atiur Rahman inaugurated the service at Radisson Water Garden Hotel in Dhaka. The Governor marked the occasion as a milestone event not only for the advancement of Bangladesh but also to celebrate a true partnership between banking and telecom industries.
bKash is designed to provide financial services via mobile phones to both the unbanked and the banked people of Bangladesh. The overall bKash value proposition is simple: a safe, convenient place to store money; a safe, easy way to make payments and money transfers.
The bKash mobile wallet, a VISA technology platform which is fully encrypted to ensure most secure transactions, will be the customer account into which money can be deposited and out of which money can be withdrawn or used for various services. Customers will be able to receive electronic money into their bKash accounts through salary, loan, domestic remittance, and other disbursements and eventually will cash out the electronic money at any of the hundreds of cash out agents which bKash assign.
In February 2011, mobile operator Robi Axiata Limited signed a partnership agreement with bKash to provide access to its services for Robi subscribers and extend the distribution of the service. bKash’s other distribution partner is BRAC which provides a local presence to offer the bKash service at the vicinity of the beneficiaries. bKash has already selected over 500 agents and is adding hundreds of new agents to its network every month. In addition, bKash has signed an MOU with LGD and A2I to use their 4501 Union Information & Service Centers to make financial services accessible to grass root people. “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,” said Kamal Quadir, CEO of bKash. “We will evolve with the needs of individuals, businesses and communities,” continued Quadir.
"bKash provides a wonderful opportunity for millions of unbanked people who have a cell phone to a have a bank account where they will be able to deposit, payout and transfer funds as they wish safely and securely", said Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, chairperson and founder of BRAC, special guest of honour at the event.
“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 Chairman of bKash.
Managing Director & CEO of Robi Axiata Michael Kuehner emphasized that this is the first time a dedicated mobile financial service provider has partnered with a mobile operator so the customer expects truly transformative payment solutions and services. “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 places”, said Syed Mahbubur Rahman, Managing Director & CEO of BRAC Bank.
BRAC is a global development organization dedicated to alleviating poverty by empowering the poor to bring about change in their own lives. BRAC’s holistic approach aims to achieve large scale, positive changes through economic and social programs that enable women and men to realize their potential. BRAC was launched in Bangladesh in 1972 and today reaches more than 138 million people in Africa and Asia through its programs that address poverty by providing micro-loans, self-employment opportunities, health services, education and legal and human rights services. Learn more at http://www.bracusa.org and http://www.brac.net.