12 Years of bKash, Leading Mobile Financial Service in Bangladesh

12 Years of MFS, How Bkash Leads the Mobile Financial Sector in Bangladesh

Nowadays, sending money to someone is much easier and faster, but 15-20 years ago it was a cumbersome process in Bangladesh. It could take days or even weeks to send money to one another, and there were often high fees involved. To solve the issue 12 years ago in 2011, Bangladesh Bank introduced Mobile Financial Service. Since its launch, Mobile Financial Services or MFS have enabled more people to have access to financial services like money transfers, making it easier to send and receive money. In the last 12 years, these MFS have introduced mobile recharge, payments for bills and services, buying tickets, etc and bKash is currently leading the sector as a pioneer.  

Journey Of MFS In Bangladesh

Earlier, there were limited options for transferring money, and many people did not have access to banks or other financial institutions. Back then, people had to go to banks, couriers, post offices, or personally, which was time-consuming and stressful. Moreover, the general public was not very used to the traditional banking system. Even those who used to send or receive money through the bank had to wait for quite some time for the transfer process to complete and had to wait in bank lines for hours to deposit and withdraw money.

Nearly 15-20 years ago, a massive number of people in Bangladesh did not have any access to financial services such as savings accounts, loans, and insurance. Traditional banking systems were concentrated in urban areas, leaving rural and remote areas relatively underserved. Moreover, people were lacking financial literacy. They also find opening a bank account and managing the documentation required cumbersome, pushing them further away from the banking system. Ultimately, it was quite difficult for them to manage their money, save for the future and protect them from financial risks. Thus, the country was mainly dependent on cash transactions, bringing concerns about the safety of money, inconvenience, and transparency. 

In 2011, an entrepreneur was visiting Bangladesh Bank day after day to convince the policymakers that the importance of mobile financial services in Bangladesh is immense. As a large part of the 160 million population of Bangladesh is out of reach of banking services and for their overall development, it is necessary to formulate policies for such a service now. The entrepreneur was Kamal Kadir, the founder of bKash Limited, the largest MFS provider in Bangladesh. In 2011, bKash launched an offering to send and receive money using mobile phones. However, within a year of its launch, bKash’s registered customer base crossed 2 million. Moreover in 2012, the company launched an ATM cash-out system in partnership with BRAC Bank, so users could withdraw their money from BRAC Bank ATMs all over the country. Within 5 years, in 2016, bKash became NO. 1 MFS in the world with more than 20 million registered customers. It also launched the remittance service in the same year, so that expatriates could send money back to the country to support their families. Gradually, a digital economic structure has been developed in Bangladesh, which is widely appreciated by the common people due to its ease of use.

According to a report published in Prothom Alo, the present population of Bangladesh is nearly 170 million. Bangladesh Bank says, In March 2023, the number of MFS users was more than 198 million In Bangladesh, which surpassed 200 million in April 2023. In Bangladesh, a customer can open multiple MFS service accounts, that’s why the number is higher than the overall population count. As a result, it is not possible to say how many citizens have actually come under the MFS service. Currently, in terms of market share, bKash ranks top among them with more than two-thirds of the market share. It’s also important to note that, although bKash was the second MFS service to commence in Bangladesh, however, it pioneered this sector.

Impact Of Mobile Financial Services In Bangladesh

Stepping out of the traditional transaction system, mobile financial services are playing an unprecedented role in providing easy money transfers and other financial facilities to the people of Bangladesh by simplifying financial transactions. After the implementation of the mobile financial service, the people of the remote areas of the country have come under this service and now they have become financially prosperous. Below is a discussion about how economic prosperity has come from the individual level to the national level through the services provided by the existing MFSs in the country.

Empowering The Unbanked People

We already know that sending money to someone was once a huge ordeal. Earlier, people used to face various problems during money transactions; however, now, thanks to bKash and other MFS, this suffering is almost non-existent. Back then, people had to go to the post office, courier office, or personally visit to send money. But now, money can be sent easily with a few clicks from a mobile phone. Due to this, the transaction time has also decreased significantly, whereas earlier, this time span was 2 to 3 days, sometimes even weeks. Additionally, sending money in the traditional system used to be expensive, which is now negligible. All in all, MFS has made financial transactions much more secure. Moreover, nowadays, the possibility of transferring money to the wrong number is very low. Even if the money goes to the wrong number, it can be recovered systematically by complaining to the MFS service provider. However, in the earlier days, with location-based money transfer systems, retrieving money was time-consuming and burdensome. So, the convenience that MFS brings in terms of quick and hassle-free financial transactions is commendable.

Moving on, merchant payments are the means by which customers pay digital currency after purchasing goods or services in general business activities, particularly in stores. Earlier, the business sector of Bangladesh was not cash or bank-centric. But currently, thanks to development, more than 6 crore traders across the country can take payments through merchant accounts. At present, merchant payment systems are being launched from branded showrooms in mega shopping malls to dealer shops, urban markets, and even grocery stores in the local area. By doing this, people can now conduct more secure transactions directly from their mobile wallets, getting rid of the trouble of carrying cash.

Furthermore, MFS Solutions have made bill payment more convenient and accessible for individuals and businesses alike. Through digital platforms and mobile apps, users can easily settle their utility bills, mobile phone bills, internet bills, and other recurring payments. Developments in MFS services first led to various government and local utility service bill payments, which were later followed by others. Previously, service providers used to reach people’s doorsteps for bills. Even to pay these bills, it was necessary to stand in line for hours at banks or government offices. But now, through the bill payment option, utility bills such as gas, water, electricity, etc. can be paid instantly, bringing speed to the lives of common people.

Lastly, among the Mobile Financial Service Providers, bKash is the only MFS that has started to offer DPS Scheme directly from the app. Apart from this, it has launched schemes like small-scale loans while maintaining legitimacy. Earlier, people usually depended on banks for loans. However, now people can get loans through MFS services, which no one even thought was possible in this country. Due to this, the economic suffering of people has reduced significantly. 

E-commerce Growth

The e-commerce industry in Bangladesh has achieved amazing success in the last decade. Apart from the big e-commerce companies, many f-commerce businesses have developed in the country that are running Facebook-based businesses. In the beginning, these businesses used to run their operation with advance payment but they faced various problems while running this business like damaged products, delayed deliveries even with fast track shipments, etc which are mainly caused by delivery companies. Many customers used to give negative reviews to the seller which was a threat to the seller’s business.

Again, many customers have reported delays in product receiving after advance payments or even non-delivery of products, resulting in an unstable situation in the e-commerce industry in Bangladesh. But when bKash and other mobile financial services introduced e-commerce payment systems, a transparent business relationship was created between the customer and the seller underneath. bKash also launched a Personal retail accounts system to help SMEs. Through this, SMEs can operate without trade licenses and avail of required banking facilities. It has helped the e-commerce industry in Bangladesh to overcome its previous counterfeits. Businesses are now able to use personal retail accounts to take payments from customers in cash on delivery or in installments.


Remittances play a very important role in the development of financial and social conditions in Bangladesh. Thousands of Bangladeshi expatriates are scattered in different countries of the world. They work tirelessly day and night to earn money and send that money back home to help their family’s economic condition. Needless to say that the money sent by them plays a significant role in keeping the country’s economy moving. 

Earlier, while sending money from abroad or withdrawing money from the country, both parties had to face various complications. In sending money, many expatriates struggled to complete all the documentarian work of the bank there. Even to whom they are sending money in the country, due to not being connected with the banking system, they also faced various problems in withdrawing money. With bKash introducing remittance service, sending and receiving remittance has become less complicated and convenient even for the people residing at the rural area.

Along with this, every year freelancers also bring in a large amount of foreign currency to the country. As the community grew, the complication regarding their payment gateway was becoming more evident. In 2022, bKash in collaboration with Payoneer introduced a specially catered service for the freelancer community of Bangladesh. This service allowed the freelancers of Bangladesh to experience a seamless payment transaction which contributed to the enhancement of the financial inclusion of Bangladesh. Following bKash’s success, other MFS providers have also ventured into the remittance space.

Socio-Economic Development

The widespread adoption of MFS has had far-reaching implications for the socio-economic development of Bangladesh. Increased financial inclusion has improved livelihoods, reduced poverty levels, and provided opportunities for upward mobility. The accessibility and convenience of MFS have enabled individuals to save money, invest in education, healthcare, and other essential needs. As a result, communities have experienced enhanced economic stability, improved living standards, and reduced income inequality.

Women’s Empowerment

Along with socio-economic development, Bangladesh witnessed a significant transformation through the introduction of MFS. Women, traditionally confined to their homes, have now stepped out and embraced various entrepreneurial ventures. MFS has empowered them to start businesses, access financial resources, and take control of their financial matters. By participating in economic activities, women have contributed to their families’ overall well-being, breaking the cycle of dependency and fostering gender equality. 


Apart from the unique services above, bKash introduced services like donation, insurance, education fee,  mobile recharge, etc which has made people’s life much easier than before. Now people can make donations to any trusted fund, and file insurance for health, and car easily through bKash.  They can pay for various educational institutes through the app.

In conclusion, Mobile Financial Services in Bangladesh have transformed the financial landscape and had a profound impact on various aspects of society. By bringing the unbanked into the financial fold, empowering women, fostering socio-economic development, and supporting small businesses, MFS has propelled the nation toward greater financial inclusion and prosperity.

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