Exactly a year after the launch of RemitBhutan, the country received over USD 2M in remittances from about 850 Bhutanese living abroad against the initial target of USD 1M.
The USD 1M target was achieved last May, eight months after the introduction of RemitBhutan. The foreign currency accounts with local banks increased from 637 in May to 850 today.
RemitBhutan is a platform facilitated by the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) for non-resident Bhutanese to operate foreign currency accounts with any authorised bank in Bhutan.
“RemitBhutan is now well established and the pace may increase with increasing number of youth going abroad to work,” the Central Bank governor Dasho Penjore said. “There are many incentives to secure their savings within the country.”
For instance, Bhutanese living abroad can open a foreign currency account without any charge and zero balance. The only cost is the remittance charges that clients have to pay to the host banks abroad. Once the account is credited with foreign currency, all facilities like online shopping, remittance to other local and international banks and card facilities are provided.
The governor also said that banks have started to offer attractive interest rates on the foreign currency account. Starting next month, the Bhutan National Bank (BNB) will revise its interest rates on Australian Dollar (AUD) from 0.25 percent to 2 percent. This is the highest interest rates offered on foreign currency account among the local banks.
The Bank of Bhutan (BoB) gives 0.25 percent higher interest on foreign currency accounts than the Common Wealth Bank in Australia. The debit cards availed from foreign currency accounts can also be used across the globe.