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MasterCard Sees Bangladesh Electronic Payments Growing 20-Fold

Electronic payments in Bangladesh may increase 20-fold over the next five years as mobile-phone transactions increase and the government pulls citizens into the formal financial system, MasterCard Inc. said.

The annual value of electronic payments may jump to $10 billion from $500 million today, T.V. Seshadri, group executive for global products and solutions for Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television today. The country has 100 million mobile-phone subscriptions, compared with 5 million payment cards, he said.

MasterCard this week opened a representative office in the South Asian country, where it works with banks. The government’s initiatives to develop electronic payments systems echo those in other emerging markets such as Nigeria and South Africa, Seshadri said in Singapore.

“We’re seeing growth in emerging markets, where governments are driving financial inclusion in a very concentrated way,” he said. “Mobile may actually be the place where payments take over in Bangladesh. Enabling mobile payment solutions is what we’re focused on.”

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