Digital payment soars in second quarter of 2021

Domestic transactions worth Nu 177bn were made via digital channels

In the second quarter of 2021, a total of 35.81mn domestic transactions worth Nu 177.23bn were made through digital channels, according to the Department of Payment and Settlement Systems report that was released recently.

The report of two quarters reveals that there is an increase of 12.19% and 6.12% by volume and value respectively compared to the previous quarter.

A significant increase of 175.72% was observed in the payment gateway transactions, followed by wallets with 83.06%. Mobile and internet banking grew with 12.03%, and Paper-cheque by 8.34% compared to the previous quarter.

While on the other hand, Electronic Fund Transfer declined slightly by 1.90% and card transactions by 11.93%.

A total of 53.90mn mobile and internet banking transactions (excluding QR payment) worth Nu144.09bn has been transacted as of the second quarter this year.

According to the report, in the second quarter alone, there were 27.27mn transactions worth Nu 79.28bn; an increase of 2.39% by volume and 22.34% by value compared to the previous quarter. 

In terms of users, there were a total of 423,262 registered mobile banking subscribers of which 84% are active users as of June this year. In the second quarter alone, there were 48,809 new subscriptions. The percentage increase in the users is 10.38% compared to the previous quarter. 

While there were a total of 28,892 internet banking subscribers as of June this year, in the second quarter, the banks received 176 new users. 

However, a total of 10.13mn QR payment worth Nu 10.45bn has been transacted. There were 6.57mn transactions of value of Nu 6.57bn contributing to 19% of the mobile and internet banking. The QR payment has an increase of 83.96% by volume and 68.98% by value compared to the previous quarter. 

In terms of QR merchants, there are a total of 27,330 merchants with 12,368 new QR codes issued as of June 2021. The banks have boarded 6,849 new QR merchants contributing to 24.10% increase compared to the previous quarter. 

A total of 652,166 wallets transactions worth Nu 279.37mn have been transacted. Of which 421,768 transactions of Nu 173.69mn were transacted during the 2nd quarter. 

“It has an increase of 83.06% by volume and 64.37% by value compared to the previous quarter,” states the report.

The report further states that the significant increase was seen in cash in and out from the banks.

There is also a slight drop in the May month e-money transactions owing to the reduced cash in the wallet as well as reduced expenditure to the telecommunication, such as internet lease line and mobile postpaid.

Unlike other payment instruments, there is a declining trend for card payments. In terms of volume, the percentage has decreased by 11.93% and the value has decreased by 8.74% compared to the previous quarter.

 A total of 226,503 cheque transactions amounting to Nu 106.01bn were transacted as of June 2021 of which 117,783 cheques worth Nu 66.28bn were recorded in the second quarter.

It has increased slightly by 8.34% compared to the previous quarter due to the financial year closing for most of the businesses. The maximum cheque bounced were for invalid account number, cheque belonging to different account, endorsement missing, drawers sign different, etc.

Around 19 cheques were charged to the customers for their insufficient balance and 71 cheques were charged to the banks for their failure to do the due diligence during the 2nd quarter.

RMA has instituted to charge Nu 300 plus 10% of the cheque value for insufficient balance to stop cheque returned due to insufficient balance and associated illicit activities around it.

However, a total of 684 RuPay, a system that allows Indian nationals to withdraw cash and make payment through all the ATM and PoS terminals in Bhutan, acquiring transactions amounting to Rs 3.04mn were received as of June 2021.

A total of 8,235 transactions have been routed through the member bank SWIFT system with the maximum being the US dollar transactions. The outward transactions were carried out across all the currencies with the major inflow and outflow of the US dollar.

The US dollar inflow from the member banks has increased by 22%, EURO by 3%, Japanese Yen by 45% compared to the previous quarter, while the rest of the currencies have decreased with significant inflow decline in Canadian dollar by 70% compared to the previous quarter.

According to the report, the significant percentage increase in the outflow was observed to be the Euro, followed by the Singapore dollar, Japanese Yen and then the US dollar with 105% increase. On the other hand, outflow for the Swiss Franc, Canadian dollar and Australian dollar has decreased compared to the previous quarter from the member banks.

A total of 932 transactions worth Nu 28.65mn have been routed in international payment gateway with 541 transactions of value of Nu 0.65mn transacted. The transaction volume has increased by 38%, while the value has decreased by 98% compared to the previous quarter.

Kinley Yonten from Thimphu