ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The hidden benefits of debit cards

I really like the convenience of using my Bhutan National Bank (BNB) ATM card for paying at participating shops. No need to carry around cash, no need to deal with checks. I recently learned of two additional reasons for using the card to pay at these shops. The first is straightforward. The second is slightly more tricky.

  • There's a monthly "Swipe and Win" draw with nice prizes (see the amounts in the shown ad). They'll even call you if you win.
  • Using your card in this way is the only way to withdraw money from your account without affecting your eligibility for interest. In particular, BNB announced that as of April 1, 2010

    BNB customers are eligible to receive an interest rate of 4.5% (effective) on saving accounts with a minimum balance of Nu.1,000.00 with no upper limit
    Sounds like a good deal. However, as we have been told at the main branch, to receive the interest you must have 4 or less withdrawals from your account per month. "Withdrawal" includes using the ATM machine, writing a check, or withdrawing directly from the cashier. Surprisingly, using your BNB ATM card at shops does not count as a withdrawal for this purpose!

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