It was making clothes for Wal-Mart, Sears, Disney and other major global retailers, though the companies said their suppliers ordered clothing from the factory without their knowledge.
Fire officials say the factory had no emergency exits, and police have arrested three factory officials suspected of locking in the workers during the blaze.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association said it would pay 100,000 takas ($1,300) in initial compensation to the families of the dead and would then give them their deceased relative's monthly salary for at least 10 years.
Most of the workers come from the north, Bangladesh's poorest region, so many relatives of the dead or missing have had to travel far to try to learn their fate.
Shirin, who uses one name, and her husband traveled overnight from a northern district in hopes of getting information about Amena, their only daughter and a mother of three. She sent them money every month.
"My daughter told she will buy me a new sari. ... She asked me to send her some pies," Shirin said. "But where is she now. Where is she?"