To make easier the exchange modes for goods and services easier people reinvented the way of exchange modes in several ways over the past decades, moving from bartering to using coins and paper money then plastic cards and recently to digital payments. Though Bangladesh has a long way to go to become a cashless and cardless society but the trends begin very strongly. During the corona pandemic it is become very vital to intensify the cashless transaction. Corona pandemic cautious us to avoid touch as much as possible. In this situation we experienced that cashless transaction increased significantly worldwide also in Bangladesh. Thus it is high time to push cashless banking to maintain the hygiene. In Bangladesh, going cashless indicates the use of credit and debit cards, automated teller machines (ATM), point of sale (PoS), electronic payment using internet payment gateway, Mobile wallet and use of Quick Response Code (QR). There are around 16.00 million debit cards and 1.4 million credit cards in circulation. Considering the potential of the electronic mode of payment, for the first time in 2010 the central bank rolled out the Bangladesh Automated Cheque Processing System (BACPS), replacing the regional clearing houses, which were operated on manual basis. Under the system, banks are now settling the inter-bank cheque within one working day instead of two to three days needed by the manual system. In 2011, the central bank introduced the Bangladesh Electronic Fund Transfer Network that offers corporate entities to pay wages and salaries to their staff and also allows them to make bulk payment. People can also pay utility bills, loan installments and insurance premium through the platform. In 2012, the central bank set up the National Payment Switch Bangladesh (NPSB) with a view to attaining interoperability among banks for card-based and online retail transactions. At present, the NPSB is processing interbank ATMs, POSs and the internet banking fund transfer (IBFT) transactions. In a major move, the central bank launched the Real-time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) in 2015, facilitating safe, secured and efficient interbank payment system in a digital manner. The system allows banks to transfer funds from one bank’s account to that of another on a real-time and on gross basis. These all are the initiatives take by central bank. Central Bank is very much supportive to expand the electronics banking.
On the other hand, QR code usage has exploded over the past half-dozen 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, 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 made up of black and white squares that can be read by smartphone cameras, point of sale (POS) terminals or other devices. QR is very openly using by Dutch-Bangla Bank NexusPay and Bikash. Some other banks are also introducing QR in small scales. It is very easy to use. No additional expense is required. Merchants and user both are comfortable on using it. Even in a small shopkeeper or tea stall owner can take payment through QR. Any individual owner like Pathao, Uber can take payment through QR. It will help customers not to keep cash or cards with him. Only a smart phone is required. Now need rigorous public awareness regarding usage of QR part of e commerce transaction. A strong collaboration is required among banks, mobile operators and payment service providers to give momentum to the cashless and cardless movement. The electronic payment mode has an important role to play in making the economy vibrant as it encourages people to engage in economic activities.This is the time demand transaction requirement during corona pandemic. To keep safe people from the corona pandemic all stakeholders should take appropriate measure to take the society towards cashless and cardless, then to total e commerce edge.
(The writer is a banker and economic analyst)