Online air ticket purchase made easier

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The central bank will now allow international credit and debit cardholders to purchase air tickets online while staying in Bangladesh for travelling from one foreign country to another. For example, for a tour to New York via Thailand from Bangladesh, the cardholders earlier were not allowed to purchase air tickets from Thailand to New York while sitting in Bangladesh.

Yesterday, the banking regulator withdrew the bar through a notice. Now the international cardholders can purchase the tickets for travelling from one foreign country to another by online card payments from Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Bank also allowed Bangladeshi travel operators to provide ticketing services to travellers proceeding abroad for journey to destinations outside Bangladesh against payment by international cards.

In this context, banks will have to provide acquiring services to travel operators in Bangladesh for capturing online payments by international cards against sales of air tickets. But travel operators have to ensure that they have relevant registrations, permissions, licences, including membership with trade association representing the sector.

They also have to have tie-up arrangements with internationally recognised tour operators and airlines. In some cases, travel agencies have provided air tickets to travellers for travel outside Bangladesh, which was not supported by the foreign exchange guidelines.

The agencies made the payment by way of using hundi, an illegal cross-border financial transaction. But the latest BB notice has given a great relief to them to run their business under a legal framework.