Access to Information (a2i), an innovation lab supported by the Bangladeshi government, has signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bank Asia and Mastercard.

The MoU aims at offering financial services to rural unbanked people of Bangladesh and provides access to digital payment services to the nation through Union Digital Centres (UDCs).

Mastercard will provide technical knowledge to introduce innovative payment systems in Bangladesh with the support of a2i and Bank Asia. It will also assist a2i and Bank Asia in setting up the Mastercard co-branded payment cards.

Bank Asia’s agent banking network will handle all the e-commerce transactions from the UDCs.

Mastercard Bangladesh country manager Syed Mohammad Kamal said: “This tripartite partnership with Access to information (a2i) and Bank Asia Limited will further strengthens our payment offering to the unbanked and underbanked population. Mastercard is proud to leverage our wide range of technologies to bring people into the financial system.

“We are delighted about this partnership and believe that it will go a long way with the digital Bangladesh mandate of the government, while benefiting the country as a whole by disbursing subsidy digitally with the support of our latest technologies. We are also happy to get Bank Asia as our partner towards a less cash society.”

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Bank Asia president and managing director Arfan Ali said: “This agreement will give an impetus to the Bank Asia’s effort to ensure rights of country people to have a bank account and reach financial services to doorsteps using the bank’s digital payment platform.

“I strongly believe this joint effort will play a strong role in changing the horizon of rural economy and contribute to achieve the government’s public service innovation agenda Vision 2021.”