There is still a plenty of potentials to unlock when it comes to expanding the country's mobile financial market and taking it to the next level. All that we need is push all the right buttons right on time amid the ongoing digital transformation.
To cash in on enormous unexplored opportunities to gain a stronger foothold in the MFS industry, all operators are going ahead with their own plans, and Nagad is no different.
We are now working to introduce quite a few new products and services, keeping in mind the fast-approaching cashless society. To continuously improve customer experience and make their life easier, we will come up with some services like "Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)" in the near future. This will allow our users to purchase products on credit and pay later at their convenience.
We are also focusing on drawing in customers to choose Nagad as a savings platform. Besides, we are planning to introduce a lending option for users based on their credit rating.
Nagad has already made a big mark on the market - once dominated by a single player - with our disruptive innovations and gained a huge number of customers at a faster pace.
Tanvir A Mishuk
From the get-go, Nagad emerged with disruptive innovations that helped to bring many underserved people into the fold of digital financial inclusion. Our people-centric and low-cost services caught on with mainstream customers as well because quality caught up to their standards.
A good number of mobile money service providers existed even before Nagad entered the MFS industry, but what was seriously missing was competition - only a single operator had got hold of around 95 per cent of the market.
In 2019, when Nagad launched its commercial operations, there were 29 mobile money licence holders but the number of customers and the amount they would transact were not as expected with so many limitations in the first place.
The account opening process was very complicated, time-consuming and troublesome - anyone willing to open an MFS account had to visit an agent, fill up a long form, tag a national ID card copy plus a photograph with it and wait a few days for his or her account to get activated.
Before its entry into the market, Nagad carried out proper market research, identified this issue and came up with a simplified account opening process.
At the outset, we introduced the digital know your customer (KYC) process, the first of its kind in Bangladesh, to open MFS accounts with ease using a smartphone. Customers can open accounts within less than a minute by capturing a photo of their national identity card and taking a selfie - without requiring to visit any agent or do any cumbersome paperwork.
This innovation has changed the dynamics of our country's financial ecosystem.
Although many initially criticised the e-KYC process, other mobile money operators, banks and non-bank financial institutions are now reaping benefits of this innovation, which has lowered their costs of doing business and also led to financial inclusion of more and more unbanked people.
Later, Nagad found that a large number of people, especially in rural areas, still out of financial inclusion for not having smartphones. Then, the state-owned MFS company made agreements with Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and telecom operators, and developed a new facility so that feature phone users can open a Nagad account by simply dialling *167# without using mobile applications. Thus, a large portion of rural people got access to mobile financial services offered by Nagad.
From the ease of account opening process to product diversification to cost efficiency to simplification of transaction processes, all have combined to gain customers at a faster pace and take Nagad to the second position in the MFS market within three and half years of its journey.
Nagad has also come out as a top VAT-payer in the service category on the National Board of Revenue's list for the fiscal year 2021-22. With a combined business model with banks and mobile operators, Nagad, having a market share of 35 per cent, has so far onboarded more than 6.5 crore people with the daily average transaction now standing at Tk 750 crore.
We have achieved enviable success because from the very beginning, we have been working to heal financial pains of mass people in Bangladesh. We will continue to serve people with our innovative products and services as we want to be a part of the government's journey towards Digital Bangladesh.
The writer is the founder and managing director of Nagad Email:[email protected]