To make the exchange modes for goods and services easier people reinvented different modes of exchange, moving from bartering to using coins and paper money, later plastic cards and recently digital payments. Though Bangladesh has a long way to go to become a cashless and cardless society, the trends begin very strongly. On January 18, 2023, Bangladesh bank launched Bangla QR (Quick Response) transaction in a gorgeous inauguration ceremony, where 10 Banks and MFSs participated. This initiative will truly take Bangladesh towards a cashless society.
It is very cost-effective for both users and merchants. It has been reported that if Bangladesh can properly implement QR transactions, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will increase by 1.7%. Singapore is fully utilising QR in all aspects. So, physical cards have been obsolete in Singapore. India is also widely using the QR at the micro merchant level. It is mentionable that during the corona pandemic, cashless transactions became very vital and popular. We experienced that cashless transactions increased significantly worldwide also in Bangladesh.
On the other hand, QR code usage has exploded over the past six years, as multitudes of companies began using them for everything, from advertising and promotions to merchandise tracking and coupons, and more. Consumers are increasingly using QR codes to access media on the Internet, download offers, and find product information and more. QR codes have also started to be used for payments, with customers making payments by scanning a QR code and having the amount transferred directly from their account to the merchant, without the need for a POS terminal. A quick response code (QR code) is a two-dimensional code of black and white squares that can be read by smartphone cameras, point of sale (POS) terminals or other devices. QR is very openly being used by Dutch-Bangla Bank NexusPay, Islami Bank, Eastern Bank, City Bank, Bank Asia, Mutual Trust Bank etc, and MSF like Rocket, bKash, mCash etc. Some other banks are also coming with QR on small scales.
It is very easy to use. Merchants and users both are comfortable using it. Even small shopkeepers, cobblers, tea stall and barber shop owners can receive payment through QR. Any individual owner like Pathao and Uber can take payment through QR. Those who do not have trade license can open retail merchants account permitted by Bangladesh Bank. Bangladesh Bank now introduced inter-operable transactions among banks and MFSs. It will help customers not to keep cash or cards with them. Only a smartphone is required.
Now a strong collaboration is required among banks, mobile operators and payment service providers to give momentum to the cashless Bangladesh, which will be a big move towards “Smart Bangladesh”. The electronic payment mode has an important role to play in making the economy vibrant as it encourages people to engage in economic activities. Our people are very much enthusiastic to use digital services. This is high time to accelerate the QR-based transaction at the grassroots level.
The writer is Senior Executive Vice President, Dutch-Bangla Bank Ltd
Source: Sun Editorial