Number of internet banking customers tops 30 lakh till September

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A file photo shows the headquarters of Bangladesh Bank in the capital. The number of internet banking users topped 30,000,000 at the end of September as people found fintech-based transactions more convenient than physical visits to bank branches after the COVID-19 outbreak. — New Age Photo

The number of internet banking users topped 30,000,000 at the end of September as people found fintech-based transactions more convenient than physical visits to bank branches after the COVID-19 outbreak.

Since the first coronavirus case was identified in the country in March, around 4.09 lakh new bank customers have started using internet banking services in the space of seven months, bringing the total number of internet users to 30.14 lakh at the end of September from 26.05 lakh registered netizens at the end of February.

In the first three months of the current financial year 2020-2021, the number of internet banking customers increased by 2.72 lakh from 27.42 lakh in June this year.

Nowadays, customers can access a wide range of services in banks anytime and from anywhere by logging into banks’ online platforms or installing specific apps on their smartphones.

Utility bill and credit card payments, intra-bank and inter-bank funds transfers, transaction records, funds transfers to mobile financial services accounts and account opening are some of the services accessible through the online banking.

Bankers said internet banking has gradually grown in popularity in recent years and the coronavirus outbreak has boosted the service.

After the virus emerged in the country in March, people have become more cautious and are trying to maintain social distancing in their daily activities, including banking transactions, they said.

They said internet banking allows customers to perform their banking transactions from the safety of their homes and avoid the risk of physical contact.

Internet banking has not only relieved customers, but will also help banks reduce their operating costs in the future, as low customer presence in branches reduces the need for physical infrastructure.

The BB data also showed that the transaction volume through online banking stood at Tk 7,006.8 crore in September, while the amount was Tk 5,364.9 crore in the previous month.

In June, transactions through online banking hit a record high of Tk 7,421.1 crore when people were in severe panic over the coronavirus infection.

Monthly internet banking transactions reached 2.07 lakh in September this year, while the figure was 1.41 lakh in the same month last year.

Driven by the increase in transactions via internet banking, the BB in September raised the limit for daily online interbank transactions, including a fivefold increase in the limit for institutional users.

For individuals, the daily limit has been set at Tk 5 lakh executed through up to 10 transactions using internet banking, while the highest limit for a single transaction has been set at Tk 1 lakh.

The daily transaction limit for institutional users has been set at Tk 10 lakh executed through up to 20 transactions using internet banking, while the highest limit for a single transaction has been set at Tk 2 lakh.

Previously, there was no separate limit for institutional and individual users. IBFT’s highest daily limit for institutional and individual users was Tk 2 lakh.

Under both criteria, a maximum of five transactions were allowed per day, with the highest limit for a single transaction being set at 50,000 Tk.

IBFT is executed through the BB’s National Payment Switch Bangladesh.

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