In an era where digital transactions have become the norm, the absence of PayPal, one of the most widely accepted online payment platforms, remains a glaring issue in countries like Bangladesh. Despite its global presence, extending services to more than 200 countries and supporting 25 currencies, PayPal is still not available in Bangladesh, impeding the country’s economic growth and limiting its citizens’ financial freedom.
The situation is particularly problematic for Bangladesh, a nation poised for significant economic development in the upcoming years. Projections by the World Bank anticipate a promising growth rate for the country, with GDP expected to rise by 7.1 percent in 2022 and 7.2 percent in 2023. However, the lack of access to an efficient and globally recognized online payment system like PayPal presents a significant hurdle to realizing this potential.
While the country does have some domestic options for online payments, none possess the widespread recognition and credibility enjoyed by PayPal. Despite assurances from government officials regarding the introduction of PayPal, the service remains elusive in Bangladesh, leaving many businesses and freelancers grappling with inadequate alternatives.
The absence of PayPal not only impacts the convenience of online transactions but also restricts the growth of the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises. With approximately 3.5 million such enterprises employing around 20 million people, the inability to access a widely trusted online payment platform limits their expansion and potential customer base. This limitation directly impedes the economic growth and development of the nation.
PayPal is widely regarded as essential for several reasons. Firstly, it provides a secure and reliable platform for online transactions, ensuring the safety of financial data and offering protection against fraud. Secondly, it facilitates international transactions and enables businesses and freelancers to engage in global commerce without the constraints of traditional banking systems. Additionally, PayPal’s user-friendly interface and widespread acceptance make it a convenient and accessible option for both businesses and consumers, fostering a seamless and efficient online payment experience. Its global reach and support for multiple currencies further contribute to its significance, enabling cross-border transactions with ease.
In a broader context, the absence of PayPal and other universal payment systems such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Square, and Stripe, coupled with the challenges in obtaining international credit or debit cards, curtails Bangladesh’s participation in the global economy. This lack of integration restricts the economic and social rights of its citizens, which include the right to engage in commercial transactions and access financial services, as outlined in the Constitution of Bangladesh.
Furthermore, the impact is keenly felt in the freelance sector, a growing industry in the country. As per the International Labour Organization (ILO), Bangladesh’s gig economy is expanding at an annual rate of approximately 20 percent. However, without access to PayPal, freelancers face difficulties in securing work and receiving payments through internationally recognized and secure channels, often resorting to less reliable and time-consuming alternatives.
The unavailability of PayPal serves as a barrier to Bangladesh’s economic progress, reflecting a broader absence of various other universal payment systems such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Square, and Stripe within the country. Moreover, obtaining international credit or debit cards in Bangladesh is challenging, attributed to the nation’s constrained banking infrastructure and stringent regulatory environment.
In addressing these issues, the regulatory framework governing digital payment systems in Bangladesh, including PayPal, must be revisited and potentially revised. Such measures are vital to ensure broader access to secure and efficient digital payment systems, aligning with the evolving needs of an increasingly interconnected global economy.
Ultimately, integrating PayPal and other universal payment systems would not only enhance the ease and security of online transactions but also foster a more inclusive and dynamic economy in Bangladesh. By embracing these digital advancements, the country can unlock its full potential and empower its citizens to participate more actively in the global marketplace.