DHAKA, Bangladesh—On the first Friday of every month, Sabina Begum makes the short trip from her single-room shack in a crowded Dhaka slum to a nearby grocery. The grocer, in addition to selling her much-needed supplies, doubles as her financial-services provider.
For Rehana Akhter, rebuilding her life after losing her leg in Bangladesh\s worst industrial disaster is an uphill battle, but her struggle is eased slightly by digital technology.
Customers at Ekushey Book Fair are increasingly using digital system like bKash to pay for books. Although the publishers adopted the system last year, the response from the visitors is huge this time, said the people concerned, adding that the system has made the transactions hassle-free.
bKash Limited is looking to become the largest mobile banking service provider company of the world in the next few years, chief of the company said.
More than two billion adults do not have access to bank accounts, credit or insurance - in effect, they have no financial security. The World Bank wants to change that - in its report on financial inclusion, it says it aims to provide financial access to all working-age adults by 2020.
BRAC Bank, bKash and The Daily Star recently organized a roundtable on "Mobile Financial Services: Its impact and future in Bangladesh". The Daily Star published a summary of the discussions.
Now mobile money seems to be finally taking off outside Kenya. In both Bangladesh and India mobile-money services now boast a sizeable number of users. And in both cases it is clever entrepreneurs who have pushed things along—rather than a big telecoms operator, as was the case in Kenya.