Dhaka, Bangladesh
bKash app to make e-commerce platform simple, cost-effective

bKash app to make e-commerce platform simple, cost-effective

News Report The country's leading mobile financial service (MFS) provider, bKash, has launched a new mobile app to make transactions through electronic commerce (e-commerce) platform more simple and cost-effective. Through this app, the MFS's 30 million users can send money, buy airtime, withdraw cash, make payment at online shop directly by scanning a code on screen, said company officials. Remittance service will be added in future, they added while addressing an 'interac­tion session' with media people to demonstrate the newly developed mobile application styled 'bKash App' at a city hotel on Tuesday. Kamal Quadir, chief executive officer of bKash and Mir Nawbut Ali, chief marketing officer, shared the objectives and causes behind developing such an out-of-box finan­cial service for the people who are not habituated with general banking. bKash. a subsidiary of privately-run Brae Bank, initiated the mobile fi­nancial service in Bangladesh in 2011 and now leading the micro­transactions in the coun­try "In 2011, when we ini­tiated the service to reach financial service among un-banked ones who had a 'fear' about general banking, we want to cov­er them who usually transact lower scale of money on average Tk 1000 to fulfill basic need. We never suggest transact big amount of money as the central bank has a guideline on this regard," said Quadir sharing causes behind de­veloping the service. The number of smart phone users and internet penetrations has been in­creasing rapidly in out coun­try in last couple of years which led us to develop the mobile application for the service, according the bKash founder "There is also a barrier in USSD code-based service that doesn't support the lan­guage Bangla. At mobile ap­plication, we broke the bar­rier, by developing service in both Bangla and English language including voice in­struction," Quadir added. Kamal also claimed that they had revised the service charge to promote the digi­tal payment through mobile apps. however, they shared majority of charges among agents. "Of 1.85 percent charge, 77 percent of it goes to the agent or distributor. That makes the agent's interest­ed to generate as many bKash customers as possi­ble. Another 7 percent of charge goes to the telecom providing the network, and the remaining 16 percent stays with bKash which pay for employees and business development," Kamal clari­fied a question on service charge. Regarding the single ac­count policy of central bank for MFS. Kamal said the users of multiple accounts will get a phone call request­ing close all accounts keep­ing one. The mobile financial firm uploaded the mobile ap­plication into the app stores on April 25 and officially an­nounced the launching on May 6. "We developed the appli­cation with human centric research in last eighteen months. We got around 13.000 feedback comments on user experience of the ap­plication and we finalize the features. In last ten days, around 14 lakhs of users in­stalled the mobile applica­tions," Naw­but Ali said. The use of the mobile app will make transactions cheaper as bKash will not have to share 7 percent of its revenue with the mobile operators for using their service. Since May 8, the app has been downloaded 14 lakh times, according to bKash. The development can also be viewed as a solution to the longstanding tussle between the mobile operators and the MFS providers over revenue sharing. The MFS providers use the mobile operator's USSD feature -- through which bKash customers take banking services from one's basic feature phone without the need for internet connection -- to relay their service. In return, the MFS providers share 7 percent of their earnings with the mobile operators, much to the dissatisfaction of the latter, who complain of a lack of clarity in the model. The mobile operators are not informed how much the MFS providers earn; they are only forwarded a certain amount from time to time. bKash's net profit surged 26 percent to Tk 48.80 crore in 2017. Established in 2011, bKash has been turning in losses until 2013, after which it has been a profit-making company

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