Monirul Islam, who works for a food delivery company in the capital, sends money to his home every week, a costly affair for him.
So, people like Monirul who are in low-paid job understand the importance of cost perfectly. To him, the most important thing is: how much it costs to send money to his family living in a village in northern part of the country. He chooses Nagad to minimise his cost.
"No one else has given the opportunity to send money instantly at such a lower cost," said Monirul, who has been working as a delivery man for the past three years.
Millions of customers like Monirul have chosen Nagad, due to low cost. Some people prefer it for its latest technology or customer-friendly service.
By using Nagad app one can cash out Tk 1,000 at the cost of Tk 11.49, which includes value-added tax(VAT). People who are not using the app, the cost will be Tk 14. The smartphone that Monirul has bought for work is now helping him to avail the low cost of Nagad.
Sometimes, Monirul borrows money from his friends, but now there is no extra cost because there is no charge for sending money on Nagad network. Other operators charge Tk 5 for every transaction.
He can also buy internet data at the lowest cost at the moment. The payments for a significant number of his company's orders are now made through Nagad. Moreover, he is taking the bills via Nagad during cash on delivery.
Nagad, the digital financial service arm of Bangladesh Postal Department which started its journey just two years ago, has thus become an integral part of many life stories of Monirul. And because of that, the number of customers of Nagad has now crossed ten million. The average daily transaction has increased to Tk 3.0 billion.
Opening of an account instantly by dialling *167# from any mobile number, introducing digital KYC (know your customer) procedure, sending money to any number even if one does not have an account are some of the initiatives Nagad has introduced in the financial sector of the country, giving a much-needed boost to digitalisation and the financial inclusion agenda.
The immense progress that digitalisation has made in various areas of the government in the last few years has offered a digital life to millions of people in Bangladesh like Monirul. And Nagad is at the forefront of the efforts.
"I have always worked with the dream of bringing change to the lives of the ordinary people as I saw that if we could change the behaviour of the people in terms of transactions, it would be a big achievement," said Tanvir A Mishuk, managing director of Nagad.
Mishuk, son of a freedom fighter, had in mind the political vision of the government to transform the country into Digital Bangladesh when he came up with the idea of Nagad. And he got down to bring some changes to the financial sector.
"The government will not be able to do all the things. The government will give directions. And everyone has a responsibility to make it a reality. That's why we had been looking for a part of the government with whom we could make the vision of the government a reality," said Mishuk.
Today, Nagad is a testament to the success of the postal department. Operated as a public-private partnership (PPP), this digital financial service has brought exemplary success to the government in the field of digitisation.
That's why all the financial services activities of the government are being linked to Nagad. The government has to distribute allowances, and this had been a difficult task in the past. After Nagad entered the scene and showed its capability, the digital service has been chosen by the government as the solution provider in the field of disbursement of social safety net programmes. In its first move, using the Nagad platform in April last year, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina took the initiative to disburse government assistance among 17 lakh people, who lost jobs at the height of Covid-19 in the country. Thanks to a series of efforts, Nagad has become the automatic choice of the government looking to build a digital economy. Nagad showed how the government safety net allowances could be distributed in a timely manner, at the cheapest cost with transparency.
In fact, it was a test for the PPP as it was only one year old when it got the job to disburse the funds under the social security programmes. In that test, Nagad passed successfully, and now for every safety net disbursement, the government is inviting Nagad as the solution provider.
Nagad was asked to come up with a solution to the long-disputed disbursement of the stipends and allowances for educational kits among the primary level students. Last December, following instruction from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Department of Primary and Mass Education signed an agreement with Nagad to distribute stipends among 10.5 million students. Within two months, a database was created using all students' birth registration certificates along with the mobile numbers and national identification cards of their parents. The database will benefit the government for many years to come. The distribution of the stipends started last week. Digitisation is not costing the customer a penny to get this service. The Ministry of Social Welfare runs the most extensive financial activities of the government under the social security programme. There, the government has given the responsibility to disburse three-fourths of the four types of allowances worth Tk 50.0 billion to Nagad.
Providing assistance to distressed women through the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs on the occasion of 90th birth anniversary of Bangamata Fojilatunnesa Mujib, depositing fees for Covid-19 tests, and paying bills for all kinds of government services are all being done through Nagad. All in all, Nagad has become a source of trust between the government and the people.
Nagad was launched on March 26, 2019 by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Since then, it has been adding value to the digital lives to the citizens. Within less than two years it has become the second-best digital financial service operator in the country with a 30 per cent share of the total subscribers. Tanvir A Mishuk himself is working towards the goal of raising the market share to 50 per cent by this year and giving a boost the financial inclusion of the country.