How Garment Workers Salary Processing Is A Critical Move For bKash’s Digital Payment Play
That’s the number of garments workers use bKash to collect their wages.
That’s the number of factories that now use bKash to pay their workers.
That’s a big number, even for bKash, particularly when it comes to digital payment, a market where customer adaptation remains slow. The brilliance of the strategy lies in its similarities with bKash’s original strategy in its early days to grow its P2P mobile money business – bottom up. A classic example of Christensen’s disruptive innovation play.
bKash makes sense for factory owners as a payment channel – it makes their life easier. Previously, factories mostly used to pay in cash and in a few instances through banks. bKash is a better option compared to both options.
For workers, if there are no charges involved, bKash is the best option because most garments workers use bKash to send money home and so on. Getting a salary in bKash makes their life easier.
Finally, it is a huge win for bKash because it improves the overall usage of the bKash. Once workers get their salary in their bKash account, they are likely to use it for all purposes such as transferring money to other bKash accounts, topping up mobile phone credit, paying utility bills, purchasing products at shops and so on.
Most garment workers are already users of bKash. However, in the past, they mostly used the service to send or receive money and that too through some bKash agents in most instances. With the partnership with garment owners, bKash just changed that dynamics upside down. Now every one of the previously mostly passive users is active bKash users. They not only use the service, but all 350,000 also have bKash account and likely bKash app.
What bKash expects to gain from this move is simple: more app usage and more payment usage. Sending money was already happening, now all these users will be using bKash for payments. That makes the move meaningful.
This would do a few things for bKash: 1) bKash app usage, thus payment usage, will grow 2) retailers will be more encouraged to adopt bKash as a payment option 3) bKash will become ubiquitous in small retailers place such as groceries and everywhere else 4) a bottom-up digital payment revolution where you could pay with bKash everywhere starting from small groceries to ecommerce to big shops 5) a two-way network effect, not only among users of bKash, which has already been happening to some extent, but also among retailers due to pressure from users to accept bKash for payment.
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Ruhul Kader is a technology business and technology policy analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, technology policy, and society. He can be reached at [email protected]