Globally, Bangladesh is the leader of the Mobile Financial Service (MFS) platform as mobile money pricing in Bangladesh is among the lowest in the world, said Lynn Eisenhart, senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The growth of the registered clients with mobile banking is really impressive and making significant contribution to the financial inclusion here in Bangladesh, said Eisenhart while talking with Dhaka Tribune at an interview yesterday.
A research study styled ‘Financial Inclusion Insights’ conducted by Inter Media with the funding of Gates Foundation has revealed recently.
The study was over the rise of financial inclusion in Bangladesh with a focus on mobile money use and registration in 2015.
Referring to the findings of the study, Lynn said: “Lower income people get access to the financial services due to mobile banking. The cost of mobile banking in Bangladesh is among the lowest in the world that mainly attracted low income people to have account with these digital services.”
The number of registered mobile financial service accounts stood at 38 million as of October this year, according to the Bangladesh Bank data.
Bangladesh could make further growth in mobile banking by adding new service with it like credit, savings, and insurance, Lynn suggested.
The study mentioned that bKash is the market leader while DBBL is in the next position but many licensed providers are yet to make any impression on the matter. bKash holds 91% of total mobile money account holders as of 2015. The active mobile money account holds by bKash increased to 91% in 2015 from 86% in 2013 when DBBL lost the account holders to 17% from 28% during the same period.
Lynn explained that Mobile financial services is relatively nascent in Bangladesh. It is difficult to build out mobile financial service business as it requires huge agents across the country to reach the remote people. bKash developed the agent network that help the providers to become market leader.
According to the study, just over four in 10 Bangladeshi adults or 43% are now financially included in 2015, representing an increase of 8% from 2014.
Financial inclusion is significantly higher among those who use mobile phones to send and receive SMS text messages. Of the 37% of Bangladeshi adults who have ever sent an SMS text message, 49% of them are financially included. Of the 63% of Bangladeshi adults who have never sent an SMS text message, only 39% are financially included.
Awareness of mobile money providers remains high and the number of mobile money users in Bangladesh continues to grow. In 2015, 92% of Bangladeshi adults were aware of at least one mobile money provider and 33% of adults reported using mobile money compared to just 22% of adults in 2014.