DirectoryAdd SiteLatest SitesTop SitesArticles

Bangladeshi Banks Get Tech Smart

Date Added: January 21, 2009 07:38:23 AM

The commercial banks in Bangladesh are fast catching up with the rest of the world in terms of the use of the most advanced technologies. Starting from online banking and SMS banking, we have also seen the arrival of innovativea technologies like the mobile ATM and many more.

Also, experts are of the opinion that the level of use of e-commerce in Bangladesh is not satisfactory enough due to different bureaucratic and policy constraints. This week in Star-Tech, we will try to have a look at where the banks in Bangladesh currently stand in terms of the use of technology in their systems.

Credit/Debit Cards: Once a status symbol, the use of Credit/Debit or ATM Cards has now become an absolute necessity for the urban folk of Dhaka and other major cities of the country. With most of the commercial banks offering card services and with relative ease of making one compared to earlier times, Cards have become immensely popular for account holders ranging from university students to CEOs of corporate firms. Risks of carrying heavy cash, ease of withdrawal/disposal, availability of ATM booths in all neighbourhoods and the acceptance of VISA/Mastercard cards at more and more shops mean that a higher number of people are now opting for 'plastic money'.

DBBL (Dutch Bangla Bank Limited) has the highest number of ATM booths all across the country, and with the launch of the Mobile ATM booths, the first of its kind in Bangladesh, the bank has made access to its ATM booths even easier.

Online Banking: Internet/Online banking application of different banks address the needs of small, individual and corporate account holders. These applications provide a comprehensive range of banking services that enable the customers to meet most of their banking requirements over the Internet, thus avoiding the hassles of having to physically travel to the bank for each and every monetary transaction/update. The services generally seen in different banks offering online banking services include:

(1)Account Operations and Inquiries

(2) Fund Transfers and Payments: The customer can choose to transfer funds by selecting different mode of transfers. Funds can be transferred between accounts of the corporate, to a third party account or to other banks using prevalent payment systems.

(3) Utility Bill Payment (Electricity, Gas, Telephone and Water) from the Customers' Savings or Checking Accounts

(4) Deposits

(5) Loans

(6) Other services: This includes monitoring up to date information about the different transactions (deposits and withdrawals) of the account instead of having to wait for the normal printed summary that comes once in every three months!

In this regard, we took an interview of Shahadat Hossain Shohag, the FVP (First Vice President) and Head of Cards of UCBL (United Commercial Bank Limited). Following are the excerpts:

Star Tech (ST): What is the current state of the use of technology in different banks in Bangladesh?

Shahadat Hossain Shohag (SHS): Currently the use of technology in banking industry is very huge. The second and third generation private sector banks are leading in terms of using technology in banking practice and services. First generation banks are not so far behind either. For example, UCBL has the largest online network connecting its 84 branches through out the country. Also the government sector banks are coming forward, slowly but steadily to taste the comfort of technology.

ST: What is the total number of plastic cards (debit/credit/ATM) currently in Bangladesh and at what rate it is growing?

(SHS): At present, up to 25 banks are in card businesses in Bangladesh. Number of credit cards is approximately 300,000 with 200,000 debit cards. There are around 500,000 ATM cards currently in use in the country. New banks are coming in card business but growth rate is still medium, standing at approximately 30-40% now.

ST: UCBL is considered to be one of the pioneers in the dual currency credit cards? How popular has this project been in Bangladesh?

(SHS): UCBL has made the venture of dual currency credit cards a success in Bangladesh. All the older credit card issuing banks are introducing dual currency credit card to emulate the success of UCBL in card business. The banks that are interested to enter card business are thinking of dual mood in almost all cases.

ST: How would you evaluate the current state of e-commerce in Bangladesh?

(SHS): To be honest, I am not convinced with the current status of e-commerce in Bangladesh. This is available in a very small scale. But the matter of hope is that banks are showing interest on this issue. Hopefully within some months UCBL will introduce e-commerce.

I do not see massive activities on e-commerce in Bangladesh. Till date all efforts are seemed to be not so efficient. But respective people have started to realise that it is a demand of time. So, I believe that in the near future we will be able to see remarkable development in e-commerce business.

ST: What services is UCBL offering which uses the new methods of technology (Plastic Cards/Online Banking/SMS Banking)?

(SHS): UCBL is getting richer in providing technology based services. Presently it has credit card business, online banking and SMS banking. Very shortly it is going to introduce debit card, ATM card, prepaid card & ATM services.

Source: The Daily Star


Shop At Hutbazar.Com