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Digital monetary transaction picks steam

By Chimi Wangmo

The Royal Monetary Authority (RMA), in the 2nd quarter of 2021, recorded a total of 35.81 million transactions worth Nu.177.23 billion which were made through the digital channels.

This is an increase of 12.19% and 6.12% by volume and value respectively compared to the previous quarter.

Further, 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%.

RMA recorded a total of 53.90 million mobile and internet banking transactions (exclusion of QR payment) worth Nu.144.09 billion that has been transacted as of second quarter this year.

“In the 2nd quarter alone, there were 27.27 million transactions worth Nu. 79.28 billion. It is an increase of 2.39% by volume and 22.34% by value compared to the previous quarter,” RMA states.

In terms of users, there were total of 423,262 registered mobile banking subscribers of which 84% are active users as of June this year. In the same perid, there were 48,809 new subscriptions.

The percentage increase in the users is 10.38% compared to the previous quarter.

While there were total of 28,892 internet banking subscribers as of June this year, in 2nd quarter, 176 new users were onboarded by the banks.

In addition, a total of 10.13 million QR payment worth Nu.10.45 billion has been transacted while  there were 6.57 million transactions of value 6.57 billion 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, RMA observed a total of 27,330 merchants with 12,368 new QR code issued as of June 2021. Further, the banks have onboarded 6,849 new QR merchants contributing to 24.10% increase compared to the previous quarter.

The RMA further reported that a total of 652,166 wallets transaction worth Nu.279.37 million has been transacted this year of which 421,768 transactions of Nu. 173.69 million transacted during the 2nd quarter.

“It has an increase of 83.06% by volume and 64.37% by value compared to the previous quarter. The significant increase was seen in cash in and out from the banks during the 2nd quarter. There is also a slight drop in the May month e-money transactions owing to the reduced cash in to the wallet as well as reduced expenditure to the telecommunication such as internet lease line and mobile postpaid,” RMA states.

Global Interchange for Financial Transaction (GIFT)

GIFT supports three types of payment services; BULK, BITS and RTGS and is also integrated with the government ePEMS system.

The RMA reported that, a total of total 86,604 transactions of value Nu.74.85 billion has been transacted through the GIFT system. In the same quarter, there were 42,887 transactions amounting to Nu. 20.87 billion.

Further, a real time retail payments has recorded a total of 2,307 GIFT RTGS settlement transactions worth Nu. 25.18 billion as of June this year. In 2nd quarter alone, 1,278 transactions worth Nu.14.26 billion has been transacted. It is an increase in volume by 24% and 31% by value compared to the previous quarter.

As of 2nd quarter 2021, there were 434,515 PG transaction of value Nu. 188.38 million.

During this quarter alone, 318,865 transactions amounting to Nu.71.13 million were transacted. In terms of volume the percentage increased to 175.72% whereas the value has decreased by 39.34% compared to the previous quarter.

RMA stated that there is a total of 65 registered merchants in the domestic PG portal as of June, 2021 of which 39 merchants are active while 26 are dormant this year.

The highest Payment Gateway (PG) transactions were observed to be initiated by Bhutan Lottery Limited followed by G2C Payment aggregator and Tashi infocomm ltd, Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan, Bhutanbuy.com and Druk Bees.

However, Bhutan Buy and BOLTS NLC has significant drop in their transaction during the 2nd quarter.

RMA observed that new entries like Ability Bhutan Society, Azha Pasa, Bhutan OK eCommerce, Dragon Coders Private Limited, Druk Gi Kalapingka and Samuh Media Tech has started receiving their transactions in the 2nd quarter this year.

As of 2nd quarter, there were 2.29 million ATM transaction of value Nu. 8.37 billion. During this quarter alone, 1.07 million transactions worth Nu.3.99 billion were transacted.

RMA noted that unlike other payment instrument, 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.

In addition, a total of 226,503 cheque transactions amounting to Nu 106.01 billion were transacted as of June 2021 of which 117,783 cheques worth Nu. 66.28 billion was recorded in the same period.

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 belong to different account, endorsement missing, drawers sign different, among others.

“During the 2nd quarter, 19 cheques were charged to the customer for their insufficient balance and 71 cheques were charged to the banks for their failure to do the due diligence,” RMA states.

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

Meanwhile, a total of 684 RuPay Acquiring transactions amounting to Rs. 3.04 million were received as of June this year. RMA observed 361 transactions worth Rs. 1.63 million which is 12% increase by volume and 15% increase by value in comparison to the previous quarter.

Currently, Bhutan National Bank Ltd is only the issuer bank in Bhutan, the rest of the banks are yet to issue their RuPay card.

As of June 2021, total of 2,243 cards were issued of which 868 were issued in the 2nd quarter. The highest issuance was to the private employees followed by businesses and students.

A total of 8,235 transactions has been routed through the member bank SWIFT system with the maximum being the US dollar transactions.

RMA said the outward transactions were carried out across all the currencies with the major inflow and out follow of the US dollar.

Further, 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 rest of the currencies have decreased with significant inflow decline in Canadian dollar by 70% compared to the previous quarter.

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

A total of 932 transaction worth Nu. 28.65 million has been routed in international payment gateway with 541 transaction of value Nu. 0.65 million transacted.

RMA noted that the transaction volume has increase by 38% while the value has decreased by 98% compared to the previous quarter.

The transactions were mostly routed through Computer Programming, Integrated Systems Design and Data Processing Services among others.

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