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Mastercard unveils cross-border remittance transfer platform

  • Published at 08:30 pm January 25th, 2021

Remitters from 136 countries will now be able to transfer remittances directly to account holders of Dutch-Bangla Bank and bKash through the platform

Mastercard unveiled its cross-border money transfer platform HomeSend on Monday as the global payment solutions provider looks to get in on Bangladesh’s fast-growing market for sending remittance through the official channel that got an unexpected bump for the pandemic, which collapsed the hundi system.

The hundi system is an illicit cross-border transaction networkmoored on international travel, import business and medical tourism, all of which have been in the slow lane since the pandemic began in February last year.

As a result, sending money through this channel became difficult, prompting the expatriate Bangladeshis to turn to the legal channel. And the 2 per cent cash incentive offered by the government on inflows through the official path sweetened the deal.

Now, thanks to HomeSend, a joint venture of Mastercard, Australian mobile software developer eServGlobal and Belgian telecommunications provider BICS launched in 2014, migrant workers have another option to send money through the official channel.

Remitters from 136 countries will now be able to transfer remittances directly to account holders of Dutch-Bangla Bank and bKash, which was partnered with Bank Asia for the service. 

The beneficiaries will no longer need to visit a physical money transfer location or bank, helping to mitigate health risks in the current circumstances.

“The partnership will allow customers to receive remittance literally at their fingertips,” said Abul Kashem Md Shirin, managing director of Dutch Bangla Bank.

We believe this collaboration under the regulation of Bangladesh Bank will further contribute in the remittance flow of our economy and will empower rural households in receiving the remitted amount in the most convenient ways,” said Kamal Quadir, chief executive officer of bKash.

Thanks to HomeSend, remittance recipients can do away with the middlemen, who charge a sizeable amount to deliver the amount sent in from abroad and also tend to be unreliable.

HomeSend’s entry comes at a time when the country is just getting off a record-setting year for remittance inflows that defied all expectations.

In 2020, Bangladesh received $21.9 billion in remittance, up 19.7 per cent year-on-year.

Bangladesh is a nation that has a high penetration of mobile phones and bank accounts, and a service such as this is integral to facilitating financial inclusion, said Stephen Doyle, chief executive officer of HomeSend.

HomeSend will offer flexibility and convenience to remitters and make Bangladesh’s financial system accessible to more people, expanding financial inclusion to even the remotest parts of the country, said Vikas Varma, chief operating officer of Mastercard in South Asia.

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