Alleviating poverty among the unbanked rural population through financial inclusion and e-commerce trade services

Shezan Shams

Shezan started his first business employing students from low-income backgrounds as couriers by bicycle so they could continue to pay for their studies. After merging with a larger company, Shezan saw another social problem when a rural sweets-maker could not take a payment due to the lack of a bank accounts. Shezan saw a gap in financial services available to rural Bangladesh who has no access to bank branches, i.e. 99% of the 160m population. He was frustrated that this has hindered their development and income generation.

Shezan took part in SE Forum’s SE Outreach Accelerator in 2015.



With the sale-proceeds of his previous business, Shezan founded E-Cash in 2011 to allow the unbanked population access to banking services and money transfer by using a prepaid card system and leveraging existing infrastructure of the village IT shops with internet connection. The previously unbanked villagers can then load money into the “fastcash” prepaid cards and create digital bank accounts in their names. They can then receive and transfer money digitally which fosters trading beyond their borders reducing reliance on the exploiting middlemen. With a license from the Central Bank and thousands of Fastcash cards already issued, Shezan wants to take the next step by creating an e-commerce portal for his card holders.