For now on, freelancers in Bangladesh will receive payments instantly to their bKash accounts from all over the world through Payoneer, said a press release.

The 24/7 real-time payment service will bring more dynamism to the thriving freelancing sector and accelerate the flow of remittance through legal channels to the country.

US-based online payments solution provider Payoneer and private BRAC Bank and bKash, largest mobile financial service provider in Bangladesh, jointly launched the service through a virtual event on Thursday.

Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for information and communication technology (ICT), inaugurated the service as the chief guest. Russel T Ahmed, president of BASIS, Rohit Kulkarni, regional senior vice president of Payoneer and Robert Clarkson, chief revenue officer of Payoneer, Selim RF Hussain, managing director and CEO of BRAC Bank, and Kamal Quadir, chief executive officer of bKash along with senior officials of respective organisations also joined the event.

According to the Oxford Internet Institute’s Online Labour Index, Bangladesh is a global powerhouse when it comes to the ICT freelancing. Thousands of freelancers are providing services across the world brining millions of dollars home.

How to receive the money

With this new service tailored for local freelancers, bKash customers will be able to easily register a new Payoneer account, or link their existing account from the ‘Remittance’ icon of the bKash app.

Once linked, freelancers can check their Payoneer account balance, and instantly bring their payments to their bKash accounts. These funds can be used for any purpose including ‘Send Money’ to other bKash accounts, ‘Pay Bill’, ‘Payment’ of shopping, ‘Cash Out’, etc.

Campaign offers

bKash announced campaign offers on the occasion of launching the service.

Freelancers receiving the highest amount of payment each day will be given a mobile phone starting from 10-16 February 2022. A customer can receive this prize only once during the campaign.

To be eligible for, the amount of money coming from Payoneer to the bKash account must be more than Tk 15,000 in one or multiple transactions. Winners will receive the prizes at the end of the campaign.

In addition, bKash is offering 2 per cent instant cash back on every Payoneer transaction from 10 February to 10 March.

Addressing the event, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for information and communication technology (ICT) thanked bKash, Payoneer and BRAC Bank for making the process faster and secured for the freelancers.

He said, “Around 650,000 freelancers of the country have been contributing 16 per cent to the world’s online outsourcing. According to a study by Oxford Internet Institute, Bangladesh is the second largest destination for online outsourcing. During last 13 years, 2 million technology based employment have been created with various initiatives and policies of the government, and we are working for further expansion,”

Robert Clarkson, chief revenue officer of Payoneer, “Bangladesh is a key growth market for Payoneer globally. We have always believed in the incredible potential of Bangladeshi entrepreneurs and this partnership with bKash highlights our commitment to invest in and provide the best solutions for our local customers.”

“We are thrilled to team up with local leaders like bKash and BRAC Bank to empower Bangladeshi freelancers to expand their economic opportunities,” he added.

Selim RF Hussain, managing director and CEO of BRAC Bank, said, “This service will give comfort and convenience to the freelancing professionals and enhance remittance inflow to the country in legal channel. Together we can play an enabling role in making Bangladesh a global freelancing hub and boost foreign exchange earnings.”

Kamal Quadir, CEO of bKash, said, “Riding on the expanding digital infrastructure of Bangladesh, there is ample opportunity to take the country's freelancing sector to a stronger position in the global market.”

“The easy method of getting payments in their bKash accounts through a regulated process will remove one of the key pain points of freelancers, which is to conveniently receive payment from their clients. This will surely encourage more people to start freelancing as well as help the existing ones dedicate more time and attention to their tasks,” he added.

BRAC Bank will supervise the foreign currency management and international fund settlement bank.