City Bank has launched a collateral-free Digital Loan scheme to expand access to finance to unbanked populations and contribute towards the journey of financial inclusion.
This is a pilot initiative targeting a limited group of selected bKash users, whereby users can request and receive loans of up to Tk 10,000 instantly through bKash, according to a press release.
Under the initiative, bKash users can request a loan from City Bank from the bKash App, receive the loan disbursement into their bKash accounts as well as repay the loan from their bKash accounts.
City Bank has launched this pilot initiative with the approval of Bangladesh Bank.
Upon successful completion of the project, City Bank will commercially launch the Digital Loan to eligible bKash users, subject to approval from Bangladesh Bank for commercial launch.
In Bangladesh, people are often compelled to take loans from informal sources at high interest rates and complex terms and conditions to meet emergency needs such as a medical crisis or financial loss caused by natural disasters or even engaging in a small trade.
In many cases, due to high cost and onerous terms and conditions, unbanked people find it difficult to repay those loans and are overburdened with even higher debt.
City Bank is addressing these problems by introducing a Digital Loan that is transparently priced based on Bangladesh Bank’s pricing guidelines and has simple repayment terms and conditions.
City Bank’s Digital Loan in the pilot phase has a three months term, and loan repayment involves three equal monthly instalments (EMI) auto-deducted from the user’s bKash account on fixed due dates.
The user will also be able to repay the EMI amount earlier than the due date and save money due to lower interest cost associated with early repayment.
Interest on the Digital Loan is charged on a daily basis, therefore in case of early settlement, users will repay interest based on the number of days for which the loan amount was outstanding.
Besides, users will be notified through SMS and in-app notification before every EMI due date.
City Bank will closely monitor users’ loan payment behavoiur and determine whether users will be eligible for loans in the future, along with fulfilling City Bank’s regulatory obligations to report any loan defaulters to the Bangladesh Bank.
To avail the loan under the pilot initiative, eligible users will need to click the ‘Loan’ icon on the bKash app and enter the desired loan amount within the loan limit approved by City Bank, as well as accept the loan terms and conditions.
Users will also have to give consent to share their KYC information, available with bKash, with City Bank before availing the Digital Loan.
After successfully entering the bKash PIN, the loan amount will be instantly disbursed into the user’s bKash account.
The interest rate and loan terms and conditions applied by City Bank are according to the guidelines of Bangladesh Bank.
Ant Group, the world’s leading financial services technology provider, will provide its loan and credit risk management technology to support the process of credit assessment on potential borrowers for this project. Ant Group is a related company of Alibaba Group.
Commenting on the pilot initiative, Mashrur Arefin, MD & CEO of City Bank, said, ‘We are always trying to get closer to the customers. Many people in our country, especially the small traders often need money for emergency purposes. The journey of this digital loan starts with the idea of how we can deliver money urgently to the right people with more convenience so that they can use it according to their needs. "
He hoped that their experimental initiative will be successful.
"Through the experience we will gain from this pilot initiative and with continuous improvement, we will be able to bring even better services for customers in the future.”
Kamal Quadir, CEO of bKash, said, “The Digital Loan project of City Bank exemplifies how banks can bring new and creative services to improve the lives of the common people. It broadens the scope of financial inclusion by using bKash’s platform and leveraging our robust customer base."
He believed that this collateral-free, instant digital loan will bring transformative impact on marginalized people, micro entrepreneurs, and students to meet their emergency personal or business needs.
Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) has taken initiative to ensure uninterrupted supply of salt to dealers, wholesalers and retailers for proper preservation and processing of sacrificial animal rawhide during the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha.
As per the directives of the Ministry of Industries, BSCIC has already issued instructions to the salt mill owners to ensure supply to the dealers, wholesalers and retailers by processing the salt round the clock, said a press release on Monday.
Besides, the district offices of BSCIC have been directed to ensure adequate salt stock, the release reads.
The district offices of BSCIC are preparing lists of district and upazila level dealers and wholesalers salt in collaboration with the concerned district administration.
Once it is prepared, the list will be provided to various orphanages, Union Parishads and other organizations involved in the preservation and processing of sacrificial animal rawhide.
According to BSCIC, at present the total reserve of edible and industrial salt in the country is 12.73 lakh metric tons, including 10 .93 lakh mts in salt fields and 1.80 lkah mts in salt mills.
During the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha, the total demand for salt in the country is around 1 lakh metric tons. With the current stock, it will be possible to meet the demand of salt in the next 6 to 7 months.
bKash is offering up to 20 percent cashback on payments made using the service ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.
A customer can avail up to Tk 300 as cashback during the whole campaign.
“Besides, customers will be able to enjoy 50 percent discount on bKash payment on selected products at Ajkerdeal and 10 percent cashback on transport tickets,” said a press release.
The offers will be available until August 2 and can be availed through bKash app, USSD code *247# and payment gateway (PGW), it said.
Under this offer, cashback is available on online or offline payment of clothing, footwear, accessories, restaurant, electronics, e-commerce, food delivery and superstores.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, bKash can help people buy tickets safely through contactless payment methods. bKash users can easily purchase bus, train, launch and air tickets from bKash app.
Users are eligible to get 10 percent instant cashback with a maximum limit of Tk 100 for bus, train, launch and air tickets.
User’s cashback will be disbursed instantly for bus, launch and air ticket whereas the cashback for train ticket will be sent to user’s bKash account the next working day.
Customers can avail the train ticket cashback offer once in a day and twice during the whole campaign.
To make the payment through bKash app, a customer needs to tap Make Payment icon from the home screen, then enter a merchant number or simply scan the QR Code at merchant point.
They can also browse the ‘Offer’ section in bKash app to see the offers in their area.
However, bKash users will also get a discount offer in the online marketplace Ajkerdeal in between July 16 and August 2.
Uber on Thursday announced the appointment of Prabhjeet Singh as President Uber India and South Asia, tasked with overseeing the next phase of growth in the company’s mobility business and ensuring safety for riders and drivers across India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
His appointment is effective immediately.
While making the announcement Pradeep Parameswaran, Regional General Manager for Asia Pacific, said, “I’m delighted to announce that Prabh is replacing me as Uber’s new President for India and South Asia, one of our fastest growing and most strategic markets."
"Prabh is a passionate and innovative leader and has been instrumental in helping build Uber from the ground up and established our category leadership in the ride-sharing market. I’m confident Prabh will exceed our expectations by leading Uber India SA on to the path of profitability, further consolidate our partnership with public transport authorities, continue our growth trajectory by expanding Auto and Moto to the next batch of cities, and build iconic teams.’’
Commenting on his new appointment Prabhjeet, said, “I’m thrilled to have been given the responsibility of leading Uber in India and South Asia, and look forward to collaborating with exceptional teams and gifted colleagues across the Uber family to strengthen our services and product offerings."
"Uber is an integral part of the fabric of our cities and as they start moving again, we have prioritized the highest standards of safety, sustainability and service that our riders and drivers expect of us.’’
Prabh, an IIT Kharagpur and IIM-A alum, joined Uber in August 2015 from McKinsey and Co., where he was an Associate Partner. Since, he’s been part of the core team that adapted the global business model to India, launched multiple new cities and led several India-first innovations, including scaling up Auto and Moto categories and building a multi-modal platform, which have both been exported to other emerging markets.
People can now pay all fees of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) through bKash from anywhere anytime and receive the tax tokens to their own addresses.
A press release said people will get tax tokens to the given addresses several working days after paying BRTA fees through bKash.
As a result, it has now become easier to get emergency BRTA services safely during the Covid-19 crisis.
The BRTA fees include - issuance and renewal of the driving license, motor vehicle registration, transfer of ownership, digital registration certificate, issuance and renewal of motor vehicle fitness, tax token, and route permit.
To pay the fee, one needs to click on https://www.ipaybrta.cnsbd.com/index/login to open an account on the BRTA service portal.
Then he or she has to apply for the required service by clicking ipaybrta link or https://bsp.brta.gov.bd/login/. After logging in, the customer will have to select the required service.
Customers need to select bKash gateway and enter a bKash account number in the payment gateway. Payment will be completed with one-time password (OTP) and bKash PIN.
People have to pay 1.5 percent convenience charge for paying BRTA fees through bKash which must be paid at the time of processing the payment.
After receiving the tax token at own address, customer has to pay 35 taka delivery charge.
Mizanur Rashid, chief commercial officer of bKash, said they’re continuously increasing their efforts to change the scenario of bill payment which requires the customers to stand in long queues.
“We aspire that the facility of paying fees of emergency services like BRTA and getting tax tokens at home will bring more relief to the customers during this time of the pandemic,” he added.