Nu 91bn worth of transactions through mobile and internet banking

Domestic payments saw an overall increase of 43.78% by volume and 2.03% by value

While digital banking has become an incredibly important channel for banks, an increasing number of customers also prefer using digital devices to conduct banking activities due to their simplicity and convenience.

About 34mn transactions worth Nu 91bn were processed through mobile banking app and internet banking as per the payment system report of the first quarter released recently by the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA).

An official from the RMA shared that banks have invested substantially in digital capabilities and have been aggressively improving the adoption and usage of lower-cost digital channels to deepen customer relationships and enhance customers’ banking experience.

“Banks are placing more effort on mobile banking and internet banking such as improving the security and convenience of their applications and enhancing the user experience to drive engagement in the channel,” an official said.

When compared to the same quarter of the previous year, an official said that there is an increase of 27.84% and 40.52% by volume and value respectively.

“The average value per transaction has increased from Nu 2,433 per transaction in first quarter 2021 to Nu 2,674 per transaction in the same quarter of this year.”

The report states that domestic payments saw an overall increase of 43.78% by volume and 2.03% by value. Regional payments saw an increase of 381.74% by volume and 318.84% by value. This increase is mainly because of the increase in RuPay Issuing transactions.

International payments saw an overall decrease of 10.87% by volume. However, there is an increase of 81.26% by value.

The payment system report of January to March this year showed that around 27.35 thousand new users subscribed to use the mobile banking apps making the active number of mobile banking subscribers 413,395 as of reporting date.

QR code payments saw a total of 9.41mn transactions of value worth Nu 8.71bn during the first quarter of 2022, equivalent to 27.65% of the mobile banking transactions in terms of volume and 9.57% in terms of value.

The transactions have increased by 163.80% by volume and 124.20% by value when compared to the same quarter of last year. The increase is because of the launch of Bhutan QR by the RMA in July 2021, which enables the interoperable use of common codes issued by member banks.

The QR scan code has been gaining popularity in shops, restaurants, cafes, and even in taxis as they are contactless, touch-less, and easy to use. Bhutan OR code has further helped during this pandemic as it limits in-person transactions, making it less likely for the virus to spread to others through cash exchanges.

The report states that the banks have onboarded 2,441 new QR code merchants, taking the total QR issued till now to 42,470, which is an increase of 6.10% compared to the total merchant registration as of December 2021.

However, if we compare to the same quarter of the previous year, there is a decrease of 55.77% in the Bhutan QR code merchant registration. A drastic decrease was seen in Pemagatshel with an 83.04% drop.

Wallet transactions have also significantly increased by 409.15% and 291.78% by volume and value respectively as compared to the same quarter of the previous year. This could be due to the addition of goBoB as one of the wallet service providers.

A total of 1.22mn transactions worth Nu 433.49mn were transacted through the wallets during the first quarter of this year.

Although a majority of wallet transactions are observed to be done for availing of telco services like recharges, unlike the wallets provided by telcos, goBoB’s transaction patterns indicate increased usage for fund transfer and merchant payments.

Meanwhile, a domestic payment gateway is a merchant service provided by the RMA for the direct payment processing for e-commerce, government services, and e-corporate utilities.

During this quarter, 652,161 transactions amounting to Nu 329.24mn were transacted. In comparison to the same quarter of the previous year, there is an increase both in terms of volume and value by 582.89% and 241.91% respectively.

The card payments refer to cash withdrawal/transactions from ATM terminals in the country using domestic ATM cards. A total of 0.37mn transactions worth Nu 1.68bn were transacted.

Unlike other payment instruments, the RMA found a decreasing trend for card payments every quarter. In terms of volume, there is a decrease of 68.57% and in terms of value, there is a decrease of 60.25% as compared to the same quarter of the previous year.

Kinley Yonten from Thimphu