Terra awaiting BB approval for BD operation

Terra, a mobile-first international payment networking company, is planning to launch its operation in Bangladesh to facilitate cross-border mobile to mobile money transfer.

The India-based company is now awaiting necessary approval from Bangladesh Bank (BB) for formal launching of its operation here, the local representative of this company told BSS. Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Terra Ambar Sur also spoke about his company's nature of  service, benefit of service receivers and prospect of such service in Bangladesh.

In a response to email queries from BSS correspondent, he said Terra interconnects m-wallet systems, money transfer operators and financial institutions to create a one-network for sending money to any mobile irrespective of the amount. Explaining this service, he said a Bangladeshi migrant in the United Kingdom, for instance,  cannot remit 20 pounds instantly to his family in Dhaka because of minimum transfer thresholds (which is 75 pounds and above) and high transaction fee ( currently 8% - 15%).

Terra, however, will facilitate such micro-transfer at a small fee, make it possible for low-income beneficiary households to pay school fee as well as electricity bills, said Sur. Besides, he said entrepreneurs in Bangladesh would be able to raise capital from a group of people overseas while free-lancers can receive payments into their m-wallets and small traders can expand business using the mobile to settle transactions. "For economies, it improves adoption of mainstream remittance products, with connecting  standalone m-wallets to facilitate cross-border transactions," Sur said.

He said Bangladesh has around 25 million (2.5 crore) m-wallet accounts, but the ultimate impact of these accounts on remittances, has so far remained largely unexplored as wallet systems   operate here in closed loops. Terra is building the digital rails for international payments, unlike most remittance companies that operate  proprietary networks and transact in cash, Sur said, adding that his company opens an entirely new market for small-denomination cross-border transfers. Besides Bangladesh, Sur said Terra is in the process of launching in two more South Asian countries and have trials ongoing in four countries in Africa. -Asfar .