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Kamal Quadir

Kamal Quadir is technology entrepreneur. Prior to heading bKash, Kamal created CellBazaar which, after reaching 4 million users, was acquired by the Norwegian telecommunications operator Telenor in 2010. CellBazaar won the Best Use of Mobile for Social and Economic Development Award 2008 from GSM Congress and Asia Telecom's Innovation of the Year 2008 Award. He received the “Tech Award 2007” for “Applying Technology to Benefit Humanity.” Kamal was also chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2009 and has won numerous technology awards including the MIT Ideas Award.

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bKash Limited
Model
For-profit Social Enterprise
Sectors
Entrepreneurship; Banking and Capital Markets
Headquarters
Bangladesh
Areas of Impact
South Asia, Bangladesh

bKash Limited

bKash, founded in 2010, provides a mobile platform for financial transactions that are convenient, reliable and affordable. A joint venture between BRAC Bank and Money in Motion, bKash has 30 million registered users, making it the largest mobile money company in the world in terms of individual accounts. The company offers an efficient system so that people who migrate to urban centres to earn a livelihood can send money home in easy, secure, fast and affordable ways.

Many users are also transacting with remote traders or customers – eliminating expensive middlemen and ensuring better prices; parents send fees to children studying in distant cities, the ultra-poor receive financial assistance from donors on time. Financial inclusion being a key goal, bKash platform has a simple interface that can be accessed by a cheap ($15) handset as well as by smartphone app. The company has partnered with multiple mobile providers to make the platform accessible to 100% of the country’s mobile users. Further, to keep the platform affordable to its low-income users, the company avoids charging fees for registrations or “cash-ins” or a minimum cash-out fee. For person-to-person (P2P) transfers, customers pay a flat fee of $0.06 irrespective of the size of the transaction. In case a customer wants to cash-out, there is a flat fee of 1.85% on the amount withdrawn.

Many bKash customers deal with small ticket transfers, but their large volume compensates for the apparent small ticket size and contributes to the financial sustainability of the company. bKash operates through a network of 200 distributors and 180,000 retailers spread across 68,000 villages. The small retailers or “agents”, including convenience stores, pharmacies and grocery stores, serve as counters where users pay cash to load their phone with an equivalent amount of electronic money. This serves as a lower cost network in comparison to installing a capital-intensive large-scale ATM network.