Trust Axiata Pay will focus on wallet-based services
The mobile financial service market is set to heat up with the entry of a new player, Trust Axiata Pay (TAP), a venture of Trust Bank and Malaysian telecommunications conglomerate Axiata Group.
Trust Bank holds 51 per cent stake in TAP and Axiata the remaining 49 per cent.
TAP, whose focus will be wallet-based services, got the no-objection certificated from the Bangladesh Bank last year.
“I believe this new MFS will play a key role in implementing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's vision of a Digital Bangladesh,” said Army Chief Aziz Ahmed, also the chairman of Trust Bank, while inaugurating TAP on Wednesday.
To open a TAP account, a scan of the national ID card and a selfie will suffice, said TAP officials.
With TAP, users will be able to deposit/withdraw their money, pay utility bills, academic fees, armed forces-related recruitment fees, merchant payments, receive remittance from abroad, as well as top-upmobile balance.
Its users will also be able to avail T-Cash's unique facilities such as payment of academic fees of 56 institutions, NID and passport-related fees.
TAP has been in the works for a while now.
In 2015, the two parties formed the joint venture company Trust Axiata Digital after the Malaysian company’s designs to offer digital financial services in Bangladesh was met with a roadblock thanks to the local regulations.
Axiata, the parent company of the country’s second-largest mobile operator Robi, offers digital financial services in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Indonesia alongside its mobile business.
DFS products include various savings schemes and business loans.
But in Bangladesh, mobile operators are not allowed to run MFS, sending Axiata to explore other avenues to further its DFS agenda.
In the end, it struck a partnership with Trust Bank, a concern of the Army Welfare Trust.
TAP’s entry into the MFS arena comes at a time when the platform’s popularity is fast rising amid the pandemic.
Transactions through the platform stood at Tk 53,258.8 crore in October, up 41 per cent year-on-year, according to data from the Bangladesh Bank.
October’s figure, which is up 8.5 per cent from a month earlier, is the second-highest since MFS was introduced nearly a decade ago.
While the platform has always been popular among the unbanked population for sending and receiving money, it has turned out to be particularly handy in making payment at a point-of-sale terminal, salary disbursement and utility bill payment during the pandemic.
In October, merchant payment through the channel stood at Tk 1,746 crore -- the highest yet. It hovered below Tk 600 crore until June, when the economy was reopened.
The platform, which allows contactless payment by way of QR code, particularly became convenient to make payment at POS terminals in the time of coronavirus, which lingers on surfaces for hours.
From July, merchant payment through MFS has been exceeding the Tk 1,000 crore-mark.
What is more encouraging for the platform is that person-to-person (P2P) transfers overtook cash-out to become the most common MFS transaction in October.
P2P transfers stood at Tk 16,566.5 crore, accounting for the biggest share of the total transactions made during the month.
October’s P2P transfers were an increase of 84.3 per cent from a year earlier 11.5 per cent from the previous month.
At present, bKash holds the lion’s share of the MFS account, with Bangladesh Post Office’s DFS arm Nagad fast taking up the market share of Dutch-Bangla Bank’s Rocket.
Shares of Trust Bank, which has been listed since 2007, closed the year at Tk 33.4, gaining 24.6 per cent during the course of 2020.