Access to Information (a2i) Programme is set to formally launch a digital payment platform with a view to bringing all utility bill payment services under a single window to materialise the government’s vision of ‘Digital Bangladesh’.
“We’ve completed all kinds of preparations, including signing of memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with stockholders, banks and financial institutions concerned, on opening the digital payment platform ‘eKpay’,” a2i’s Digital Financial Service Lab Programme Manager Tohurul Hasan Tutul told BSS.
At present, more than US$150 billion individual payments are made in Bangladesh of which 95 percent is made in cash, he said, adding that payments made by individuals can be categorized into three groups — Person to Business (P2B), Person to Person (P2P) and Person to Government (P2G).
‘eKpay’, the official said, is an integrated online platform developed by a2i Programme for Person to Business (P2B) bill payments that incorporated all the payment channels and the billers under a single access point.
This one-stop payment platform will provide an interoperable bill payment service which is easily accessible through online and network of agents to all customers across Bangladesh with convenience, reliability and secure mode of transactions, Tutul added.
Aiming at digitizing bill payments with user-friendly features and convenience throughout the country considering very low-income users and unbanked population, he said the online platform ‘eKpay’ will enable users to pay for any utility bill easily using a wide range of payment options instantly from anywhere and anytime.
The a2i has already inked agreements with 19 financial institutions, including 16 banks, the a2i official said. The payment switch ‘eKpay’ has primarily been connected with electricity, gas and water suppliers, two city corporations and one telecom service provider, the programme coordinator said, adding that education boards, road transport authorities will be linked with the platform soon.
Utility bill-payers can use all the credit and debit cards, MFS, wallets, internet banking in the ‘ekPay’ as well as their mobile financial service accounts and they will be able to download and print receipts of their payments, Tutul further said.
Over a period of time, other categories like insurance premium, institution fees, credit cards, local taxes etc will also be covered under the eKpay, he said.
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