Banking: People in Thimphu can now perform cashless transactions when purchasing groceries and other goods by directly transferring the money from their bank account to the merchant’s.

Bank of Bhutan’s (BoB) M-BoB merchant payment service that was launched yesterday at the 8Eleven supermarket in Thimphu enables the user of the M-BoB mobile application to make cashless payments on purchases.

To begin with the service is made available at two shopping malls in the capital, My Mart at Chubachu and 8Eleven in the main town. Customers shopping at the two stores don’t have to carry cash for shopping.

After making all the purchases, customers give their mobile number to the merchants and then receive an SMS. After confirming the amount, customers can directly transfer the amount using M-BoB to the merchants account.

BoB’s Passang Norbu said that the new service will not only benefit customers but also boost the sale for the merchants. “It’s a win-win situation for all the three parties involved,” he said. “The bank will have to deal with less crowd at branch offices, safer for customers as they don’t have to carry cash and the merchants will have a boost in their sales.”

Passang Norbu added that currently only two supermarkets have been identified to provide the service but more shops will introduce the service as well in the future. “To start with My Mart and 8Eleven were selected looking at the number of customers they get and also the technology in place in these two malls,” he said.

8Eleven’s manager Sagar Bhattarai said that it was too early to make any comment on the service but he said that it was a good and easy mode of payment for the mall. “If customers can directly deposit the money into our account it would makes our work much easier. Currently we have to go and deposit all the cash in the bank the next day.”

The manager said that if backup support can be provided immediately incase of technical errors, the service could work very well for the shop as well as the customers. “I’m just concerned with the internet access and the number of the people who use this M-BoB service,” he said. “If agencies concerned could make a note of this and take necessary actions, it would benefit us all.”

However, while smartphone users can do mobile banking with the M-BoB mobile app, other mobile phone users can access the facility by dialing *262#, which is similar to the B-Wallet service as it does not require an internet connection.

Currently the service is provided free for both the merchants and the clients. However, from January next year, some charges might be liable for using the service said Passang Norbu.

The Mobile & Agency Banking Service (M-BoB) was launched in May earlier this year to reduce cash transition and promote e-commerce in the country.

Younten Tshedup