Real-time interbank payments still a far cry | 2017-08-11 |

Real-time interbank payments still a far cry

Jannatul Islam     11th August, 2017 02:22:14 printer

Real-time interbank payments still a far cry

A proper interoperability to deliver a real-time interbank payment system could not be established in the country’s banking sector due to lack of interest of the banks, a senior official of the central bank has said.


Bangladesh Bank (BB) launched the National Payment Switch Bangladesh (NPSB) in 2012 to introduce a centralised online payment system, but there has been a little response from the financial institutions in this regard.


The 56 commercial banks operating in the country utilise only 20 percent of the NPSB by using only 2-3 features out of the 21 services the central payment switch offers, the BB official said.


The BB officials said only two or three banks are ready to operate the real-time inter-bank electronic transfer systems through the centralised core banking system.


Lila Rashid, general manager of BB’s Payment System Department, said the central bank has been working to develop an ecosystem within the financial institutions, but the plan could not be implemented due lack of interest of banks. 


The BB official also informed that banks have raised questions about the huge investment requirement for adapting those services.


Only Dutch Bangla Bank Ltd is maintaining interoperability between its general banking and mobile financial services.


“The central bank introduced Real Time Gross Settlement at NPSB in 2015 to speed up the national electronic fund transfer system. However, the state-owned banks are reluctant to use the centralised banking service.


Janata Bank has not implemented the real-time electronic fund transfer system. Sonali Bank had only 2 percent of its total transactions done through the RTGS in the last one and a half years,” Lila Rashid told the daily sun.


A senior official of a state-owned bank said the interoperability service involves a huge investment. As the number of customers is not the same at all the banks, some banks don’t want to take the burden of adapting the real-time banking systems.


A Bangladeshi company has been working together with the central bank to introduce National Payment Scheme which with enable financial institutions to operate cross-bank transaction is real-time.


"A unified and commonly accepted digital payment system has been a key challenge till date despite the growth of digital Bangladesh. It can be addressed by less expensive but secured payment technology like Quick Response Code (QR Code)-based payment system," Minaoar Hossain Tanzil, Managing Director of Kona Software Ltd, told the daily sun.


DBBL Managing Director Abul Kashem Mohammad Shirin said the electronic fund transfer system cannot be implemented up to its original plan to build a cashless society as the withdrawn cash from kiosks return to the retail market.


“Over 6 crore people have access to the internet, but only two percent are making online payments,” Shirin said.