Tech: In a move that has irked some Bank of Bhutan (BoB) B-Wallet users, BT will charge a Nu 10 fee for every third-party transaction done using the mobile payment system.

This means that while mobile recharges, fixed line phone and broadband bill payments will still be free, other services like fund transfers within BoB accounts will now be Nu 10 dearer. A B-Wallet electricity bill payment facility was already Nu 10 extra.

BT introduced the fee for two reasons, to alleviate congestion of the B-Wallet service and to create uniformity on fee for third-party services.

“There are congestion issues on B-Wallet service for BoB account holders, especially during offers and schemes, and fund transfer charge is just a small measure to curb this issue,” BT marketing manager Kinga Choden said. “The other reason is that BPC bill payment is already charged Nu 10 per transaction and now BoB fund transfers will be charged the same rate for a certain uniformity,” she added.

The marketing manager clarified that the Nu 10 charge will not apply for BT service bill payments and only for third-party payments. She said it will also apply to other future third party services.

On when the congestion issues will be solved technically, Kinga Choden said that this would probably happen by mid-this year.

“This is mainly due to the huge BoB client base who are also registered as our B-Wallet users,” she said. “We are aware that technical teams at BoBL are s hard to resolve his congestion issue which should most likely be resolved by mid this year.”

In a December clarification published in the media, BoB apologised to its users for the congestion issue, attributing the problem to occurring only when there is a spike in transactions when BT makes offers on top-ups. The bank pointed out that the issue would be resolved completely in 6-8 months which would mean between June-August, this year.

Kuensel has learnt that Tashi Cell has proposed the introduction of an electronic money service that would allow users to transact money through many more mediums like mobile apps. However, it is currently waiting for the central bank’s approval.

BoB has also proposed to the central bank the introduction of a mobile app for fund transactions.

There are around 30,000 B-Wallet users today and on an average 140,000 transactions occur every month using the service.

Gyalsten K Dorji