Internet banking transactions increase in November

Internet banking transactions rose more than 61 percent year-on-year to Tk 27.426 billion in November in Bangladesh as an increasing number of people opt for digital technologies for financial transactions, official figures showed.

This compared to Tk 17,009 million recorded in the same month of the previous year, according to Bangladesh Bank data.

Internet banking, popularly known as online banking, was introduced in Bangladesh two decades ago. But the pace has been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic since consumers have been forced to turn to the internet to access finances from the comfort of their homes to avoid contracting the deadly virus.

Internet banking customers have almost tripled since March 2020 to 61.27 lakh in November last year.

In the third month of 2020, when the pandemic hit the world, the number of internet banking customers was 26.49 lakh in Bangladesh. It was up over 42 percent from 43.06 lakh in November last year.

Transactions worth Tk 6,588 crore were processed through digital platforms in March three years ago.

Local banks transacted Tk 40.457 billion through the Bangladesh Electronic Funds Transfer Network (BEFTN) in November, up from Tk 38.178 billion, an increase of 6 percent year-on-year.

Created in 2011, the BEFTN was the country’s first paperless electronic interbank funds transfer system. It facilitates both credit and debit transactions, as a leader in the check clearing system.

The network can handle credit transfers such as payroll, foreign and domestic remittances, social security payments, company dividends, bill payments, corporate payments, government tax payments, social security payments and person-to-person payments.

Accommodates debit transactions such as utility bill payments, insurance premium payments, club or association payments and matched monthly payments. Most government wages, social benefits, social safety net payments and other government payments are also processed through the BEFTN.

Tk 461.218 billion was transacted through the central bank’s real-time gross settlement (RTGS), an increase of over 66 percent from Tk 277.562 billion a year earlier.

In order to facilitate real-time settlement of time-critical high-value payments, the BB introduced the RTGS system in 2015. It enabled banks and companies to settle payments instantly. Individual customers are also using the service to settle high-value transactions.

An amount worth Tk 1 lakh or above is cleared through the RTGS system while a lesser amount is processed by the BEFTN.

Non-bank financial institutions settled funds through RTGS to the tune of Tk 23,169 crore in November, according to central bank data. It was Tk 17,825 crore in June, the latest data for which is available on the central bank’s website.

For individuals, the maximum value of each transaction is Tk 3 lakh through internet banking. The frequency is a maximum of 10 times per day and not more than Tk 10 lakh per day.

For corporates, the limit has been set at Tk 5 lakh per transaction. The maximum frequency is 20 times, while a total of Tk 25 lakh could be transacted per day.

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