Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday launched local currency card Taka Pay to reduce dependency on international card schemes like Visa and Mastercard and save much-needed US dollars.
Bangladesh Bank introduced the card, first of its kind in the country.
PM Hasina inaugurated the card from her official residence Ganabhaban. She was connected virtually with the headquarters of state-owned Sonali Bank, private City Bank and Brac Bank.
The three banks have been given responsibility to issue the Taka Pay card in collaboration with the central bank.
'Taka Pay' will provide the same service nationally through the use of 'The National Payment Switch of Bangladesh', an electronic payment platform operated by the BB.
Initially, the card can be used within the country. Later the central bank will introduce Taka-Rupee card which can be used for shopping in neighbouring India.
Electronic transfer of taka is done through Visa and MasterCard payment networks of business institutions including banks and other financial institutions.
These entities offer branded payment processing services for credit, debit, and prepaid cards. Domestic card 'Taka Pay' will provide the same service, the BB sources said.
It can be used abroad once foreign banks and institutions partner with the platform. It will reduce the cost of foreign exchange. Because foreign companies have to spend a lot of money on service charges.
From the beginning, this card can be used at all ATMs, points of sales and online platforms in the country.
Initially it will be used as a debit card but in the future Taka Pay credit card will also come.
Magnetic strip is used for security of this card. But now the new EMV technology with added security has been introduced in all bank cards. Gradually Taka Pay card will also be introduced with EMV technology.
Paris-based consultancy Fime developed the card.
Bangladesh’s neighboring countries also have their currency cards. India has card 'Rupee', Pakistan 'Pakpay', Sri Lanka 'Lonkapay'. Saudi Arabia has 'Mada'.
At the outset, a video documentary on the Taka Pay was screened.
Two freedom fighter customers of Sonali Bank withdrew money from City Bank's ATM using Taka Pay Card.
Central bank governor Abdur Rauf Talukder was present among others at Ganabhaban.
Prime Minister's Principal Secretary M Tofazzel Hossain Miah moderated the function, while BB Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder delivered welcome address. BB Executive Director Mezbaul Haque presented different aspects of the national card scheme “TakaPay”.
Sonali Bank Managing Director Afzal Karim, Brac Bank Managing Director Selim RF Hossain and City Bank Managing Director Mashrur Arefin at their offices demonstrated the usage of TakaPay card, online payment and withdrawal of money from ATM where the users received the services.