bKash: How Bangladesh’s First Unicorn is Leading Financial Inclusion
bkash startup analyses

A comprehensive analysis of bKash, the mobile financial service provider in Bangladesh:


bKash, a subsidiary of BRAC Bank, started its journey in 2011 with the vision to provide affordable, accessible, and comprehensive financial services to Bangladeshis, especially the unbanked population. It has since revolutionized the mobile financial services (MFS) landscape in Bangladesh.

Growth and Impact

  • User Base: bKash has amassed a vast user base of over 70 million verified customers.
  • Agent Network: A robust network of 330,000 agents, often referred to as “Human ATMs,” has been pivotal in bKash’s expansion.
  • Valuation: Within a decade, bKash’s net worth soared to US$2 Billion.

Key Strategies

  • Inclusivity: Targeting the unbanked, bKash offered user-friendly services, increasing financial literacy and empowerment.
  • Service Diversification: From simple cash transfers to utility payments, loans, and international remittances, bKash has broadened its service offerings.
  • Investment and Innovation: Continuous improvement and innovation have helped bKash maintain its market leader position.

Challenges and Opportunities

  • Regulatory Environment: The support from Bangladesh Bank and the government’s digital initiatives have been crucial for bKash’s success.
  • Competition: Despite facing competition from other MFS providers, bKash has maintained its dominance, partly due to its first-mover advantage.

Future Outlook

bKash continues to shape the digital financial narrative in Bangladesh. Its role in the country’s financial inclusion and digital transformation is significant and is expected to grow further with continuous innovation and expansion of services.

This analysis highlights bKash’s journey from a startup to a leading financial service provider, its strategies for success, and its ongoing contribution to the financial empowerment of millions in Bangladesh.

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How does bKash ensure security of transactions?

bKash employs several measures to ensure the security of transactions for its users:

  • Personal Information: Users are required to fill up the registration form with accurate and complete information, which is used to verify identity and ownership of the bKash account.
  • PIN and Codes: Customers must keep their PIN, Secret Code, and Security Code confidential at all times.
  • Transaction Verification: Users are advised to verify the authenticity of the recipient in every transaction and be mindful while entering transaction details.
  • Cash Out Protocol: For cashing out from an agent point, the “Cash Out from Agent” option should be used.
  • Balance Check: It’s recommended to check the account balance before and after each transaction.
  • SMS Confirmation: Ensuring that the SMS inbox has space to receive confirmation SMS from bKash is important.
  • Lost Phone Protocol: In case of a lost mobile phone, users should immediately inform the bKash Helpline.

bKash also emphasizes that they provide a secure transaction platform and will not be liable for any human error, misrepresentation, or fraudulent activity arising from the use of the service1. These precautions ensure that digital transactions are not only convenient but also secure.

What Are Some Challenges?

bKash has faced and continues to face several challenges as it grows and evolves:

Initial Challenges

  • Introducing a New System: Initially, bKash had to overcome the hurdle of introducing a completely new operating system for mobile financial services.
  • Public Perception: Managing the liking-disliking factor of the people towards this new form of financial service was a significant challenge.
  • Reaching the Audience: Successfully reaching and convincing the target audience to adopt bKash services was another initial obstacle.
  • Technological Support: Ensuring robust technological support to handle the volume of transactions and service demands was a critical issue.

Ongoing Challenges

  • Competition: bKash faces stiff competition from other mobile financial services in the market.
  • Regulation: Navigating the complex regulatory environment while innovating and expanding services is a constant challenge.
  • Security: Ensuring end-to-end security for all transactions remains a top priority, given the risks associated with digital financial services.

Digital Transformation Challenges

  • Digital Literacy: Addressing inadequate digital literacy among the population to promote the use of digital financial services.
  • Infrastructure: Building and maintaining the necessary digital infrastructure and seamless connectivity for uninterrupted services.
  • Cultural Factors: Overcoming cultural barriers that may hinder the adoption of digital financial services.

bKash has addressed these challenges through educational initiatives, nationwide training programs, and continuous technological innovation to enhance digital literacy and promote the benefits of digital transactions3.

Overcome Approach

To overcome the challenges it faces, bKash can adopt several strategies:

Strategic Partnerships

Forming strategic partnerships with local and international organizations can provide bKash with additional resources and expertise.

Technological Innovation

Investing in cutting-edge technology can help bKash enhance its service offerings and improve security measures.

Financial Literacy Programs

Educational initiatives and training programs can increase digital literacy, helping users to better understand and trust digital financial services.

Expanding Digital Infrastructure

Improving digital infrastructure and connectivity can ensure that bKash’s services are reliable and accessible to a broader audience.

Customer-Centric Services

Developing services that are tailored to the needs of the customers can help bKash maintain its market leadership.

Regulatory Compliance

Staying ahead of regulatory changes and working closely with regulators can help bKash navigate the complex financial landscape.

By implementing these strategies, bKash can continue to thrive and maintain its position as a leader in the mobile financial services sector in Bangladesh.

What is the future of digital financial services in Bangladesh?

The future of digital financial services in Bangladesh appears to be quite promising, with several factors contributing to its growth:

Technological Advancements

The integration of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things is expected to transform the banking industry, making services more convenient and secure.

Government Initiatives

The government’s vision of a ‘Smart Bangladesh’ and the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) aim to improve access, usage, and quality of financial services, promoting digital and financial literacy and scaling up digital financial services.

Market Growth

With the increase in internet usage and smartphone penetration, along with the expansion of mobile money wallets and digital payments adoption, the market for digital financial services is growing rapidly.


Collaborations between banks and FinTechs are creating open platforms and data networks, embedding financial services into the daily lives of consumers and business operations.

Regulatory Support

A regulatory environment supportive of digital innovation is helping to navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by the 4th industrial revolution.

In summary, the digital financial services sector in Bangladesh is set for continued growth, driven by technological innovation, supportive government policies, and a collaborative ecosystem. This will likely lead to improved financial inclusion and a transformation in how financial services are delivered and accessed in the country.

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