Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The central bank of Bangladesh on Tuesday relaxed rules relating to payment through international credit cards to facilitate foreign exchange transactions, officials said.

Under the new rules, government officials, private sector officials, private foreign currency accounts holders and pilgrims will be allowed to use international credit cards for making their payments aboard.

Besides, international credit cardholders using mobile phone roaming service can pay bill to mobile phone operators in Bangladesh, they added.

The central bank of Bangladesh took the move aiming to facilitate tourists, private sector entrepreneurs and professionals for making their payment using international credit card instead of cash.

“We have relaxed rules on payment through international credit card to ease foreign currency payment system,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country’s central bank, told BBN in Dhaka.

The banks may issue international credit card to an individual against the annual personal travel quota entitlement in line with the existing guidelines for foreign exchange transactions (GFET).

Any Bangladeshi passport holder is entitled to use maximum US$3000 per year outside of the SAARC countries. But only US$1000 can use per year within the SAARC region including Myanmar, according to the existing rules.

International prepaid card may be issued to intending pilgrims for meeting expenses in Saudi Arabia only while performing Hajj as per entitlement each year, the BB said in its circular.

Market operators said that the BB’s latest move aimed to facilitate mainly tourists for meeting expenses, including hotel booking, using such credit card instead cash.

“The demand for international card is gradually increasing in Bangladesh,” a senior official of a private commercial bank said, adding that around 10,000 international cardholders are now in the country.

BBN/SI/SI/AD-23September08-9:25 PM (BST)