How I pay for services from Bangladesh

International cards available in Bangladesh


6 min read

How I pay for services from Bangladesh

So I am from Bangladesh. The first problem I faced during my journey as a developer is that how I am going to pay for the services I need- whether I need domain from namecheap/porkbun or hosting from linode/digitalocean/upcloud. So before I start writing about technical stuff, let me address this issue first and the available solutions out there.

Suppose, you need to buy a vps of $5 from digitalocean. How are you gonna pay? Using a credit card, simple? How dumb I am! No, it's not that simple. You can't just pay using a regular amex/visa/mastercard. You need to have an international debit/credit/prepaid card to make the payment. Now you are thinking of paypal? Ok kiddo, paypal is not available in Bangladesh and your youtube video showing signing up paypal business account adding a Bangladeshi number isn't gonna solve your problem.

Enough of the story, lets get straight to the point.

Almost every service you want will accept card payment (amex/visa/mastercard). Some will only accept paypal. Later on this.

There are some restrictions regarding international transactions in Bangladesh. A person can use up to $12,000 during a calendar year for global private travel.

Almost all the banks nowadays issue international cards. To avail this card, you just need to have NID(National ID) and passport. To issue the card from bank, you just need your NID; but for initiating international payment(e.g. USD), you'll need your passport to endorse. To summarize, you'd need both for this purpose. However, if you are minor and don't have an NID, you can use your parents' NID and passport; just like I did in my beginning.

Now I guess you've got an idea what you need to have getting started. Next question in the queue is from where or which bank you can issue your card. Currently, there are 61 scheduled banks in Bangladesh and not all of them issue international card and not all of the banks system is updated. You need to lookout for few things

  • Are their cards dual currency supported?

  • How's their paymet gateway? (more technical stuff)

  • Does their card support recurring payment?

  • And of course, how is the customer support?

I can't write of all the available bank details in one blog but I tried to list some of the best option I think worth trying

You can avail 3 types of card

  1. Prepaid Card

  2. Debit Card

  3. Credit Card

From networks like visa, mastercard, american express(amex), union pay, diners club, discover. Among these visa, mastercard and amex are most popular and widely accepted internationally. Visa and amex is my favorite.

Lets start with prepaid card. Easiest to get. You don't need any bank account, just go to the bank, show your NID, fillup some forms, sign it and done you will get the card instantly but it may take 24 hours or more to activate. Plus you have to endorse your passport for dollar transaction. Right now, prepaid card trend is really hyped in our country. Banks are offering prepaid card to attract customers. Some are also offering it for free ( Midland Bank ) but all card is not up to the mark. I have used almost all the prepaid cards available. Particularly I liked the one of Eastern Bank. Eastern Bank issues mastercard aqua prepaid card and lifestyle visa card.





Their payment gateway is smooth. Supports recurring payment. Refund system is also good. But yeah, their customer service is not upto that mark.

N.B: Nowadays a lot of sites don't accept prepaid card anymore. Specially talking from my field digitalocen, linode, facebook, google don't accept prepaid card. So you might consider the other two options

Debit card, it deducts money directly from your bank account, So yeah you need a bank account first. Basically, you open a savings account and bank will issue a debit card against your account. When you make any payment in USD, it will be automatically converted into equivalent BDT & get deducted from your account. Debit Card is more accepted than prepaid card and also more convenient. You don't have to load USD seperately. Just deposit the money to your account and done. I know it has it's flaws. More on that later. I can recommed 2 banks for debit card. One is again Eastern Bank's Classic Debit Card

EBL Classic Debit Card


You just need to have a savings account with them. You will get your card within 7-15 working days. Well that's what they say. I got mine after one month. After receiving your card endorse your passport. Done you are good to go. Although it took almost a month an half from opening my account to getting my card and all the formalities, I never had to go the bank later again. Transaction is smooth like butter. Never faced any declined issue unless the site only accpet credit card. If you are student aging between 18-28, you can open an EBL Campus Account

Another option is City Bank's CityMaxx American Express® Card


I love their service. The only reason I put it 2nd is that it had some issue making payment on sites like facebook, google play etc. You have to change your region and currency to dollar to make the payment go through. I will write in more details later Besides that their service is topnotch. You will love their Citytouch digital banking available on both android and iso also on web.

At last credit card. This is the best thing you can get. Some sites only accept credit card for security reasons. I can't just list some best credit card. It is also a lot harder to get if you are not a job holder with a handsome salary. Even if you are, it is still complicated. If you are a student, you don't have any other option besides fixed deposit. Bank will issue credit card against your fixed deposit. Every credit card has it's own advantages and disadvantages. I am thinking of writing a series on credit card explaining the ins and outs of every type available. But for now and for the purpose of this writing I can say except lankabangla credit card all credit card supports international transaction (dollar$$). But you should look out for card which support dynamic currency so that you don't have to divide you limit between BDT and USD.

Now the bigfoot in the house Paypal. Sorry Bangladeshi users are only able to receive their earnings through PayPal, which means there are some limitations in using the service in the country. Simply to say, you cannot open paypal account in Bangladesh. I am aware of xoom but it is just like western union nothing more. You don't get the security features you get in paypal when using xoom, so buyer normally don't agree to use it. The best & one n only option is to use your friends' and family's paypal account living in abroad. Yeah this is the only option, so stop googling how to open paypal account in bangladesh.

In brief, this is my 5 years of experience sorting out payment problems. When I started 5 years ago, there were not so many options like today. As you can see from the above description, all these made me a banking nerd. I love to collect card and am enthusiast about banking. I know a lot of people in my age are not interested in banking. But if you are in tech, you don't have any chance to avoid it. I will start a in depth series on payment methods soon. Let me know your comments.

Thanks for reading.