Digital payments soar during lockdown

Staying safe with digital payment

MB Subba

The nationwide lockdown, which came into effect on August 11, has not affected most customers as they have switched to digital payment methods.

The economy recorded a total of 426,448 digital domestic payment transactions worth Nu 377.91 million (M) during the first two days of the lockdown.

On the first day of the lockdown, the central bank recorded 245,990 digital payments worth Nu 236.75M. The value of transactions on the second day amounted to Nu 141.16M from 180,458 digital payments.

 According to the RMA’s Department of Payment and Settlement Systems, in continuation to the public notification issued by the RMA on availability of essential financial services online, there was a significant rise in usage of digital financial services in the first two days of the lockdown.

 “We continue to encourage the public to switch to internet or mobile banking like MBoB, Mpay, Tpay etc. provided by the five commercial banks in the country, instead of relying on ATMs, POS, and cash.  Banks will guide and support their clients in the digital drive,” director of the Department of Payment and Settlement Systems, Tshering Wangmo, said.

The central bank, in collaboration with the Financial Service Providers (FSPs), has also set up a 24×7 Crisis Management Command Centre (CMCC) with a toll-free number of 1255 at the RMA as part of the national Covid-19 lockdown response measures.

The CMCC received a total of 115 enquiries from across the country during the first two days of lockdown and all of them were resolved.

The CMCC works in close coordination with the entire network of Bhutan’s financial service providers to ensure uninterrupted delivery of essential digital financial services across the country, according to RMA.

The use of mobile wallets has also seen an increase in the volume of transactions processed, especially with effect from March 2020, with the launch of eTeeru of Tashi InfoComm.

The RMA stated that it was not only the Covid-19 pandemic that encouraged more people to switch to the digital payment system. The increase in digital payments is also attributed to the RMA and banks’ rigorous digital initiatives.

Financial service providers also received a total of 860 enquiry calls, of which 724 were resolved.

The calls were related to interbank fund transfer and internet banking issues, Mobile app, remittance outside Bhutan and failed transactions issues, loan inquiries, loan deferment queries, payment (RTGS) issues and inquiries on salary among others.

Other calls were related to insurance, loan deferment queries and loan applications.

The RMA has also requested customers to call helpline numbers of respective financial service providers.

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