Central Bank introduces low-cost digital payment solution | Sunday Observer

Central Bank introduces low-cost digital payment solution

11 October, 2020
Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardena makes a purchase at the Lanka Sathosa stall using a LankaQR enabled app. Pic: Wasitha Patabendige
Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardena makes a purchase at the Lanka Sathosa stall using a LankaQR enabled app. Pic: Wasitha Patabendige

The National LankaQR Initiative Rata Puraama LankaQR was launched at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) by Minister of Trade Dr. Bandula Gunawardena last week.

The LankaQR code was introduced by the CBSL with licensed financial institutions and LankaClear (Pvt) Ltd to move towards a less-cash society while increasing financial inclusion in Sri Lanka. LankaQR enables customers to make payments, directly from their bank accounts to accounts of merchants or service providers, using payment apps of LankaQR certified financial institutions. LankaQR is a low-cost digital payment solution, which targets small and medium enterprises especially. Customers will not be charged for using LankaQR based payments.

Merchants are provided with the LankaQR printed sticker free by the member institutions of LankaQR to be displayed at their places of business. The maximum Merchant Discount Rate (MDR – fees paid by merchants to the bank that issues the LankaQR code will be 0.5% for this year.

All payments for government services through LankaQR have been mandated to be free this year. Given the numerous benefits to the economy and the public, CBSL and financial institutions aim to increase the availability of LankaQR in Sri Lanka to one million merchants by the end of this year.

LankaQR compliant QR codes are currently issued by Bank of Ceylon, Cargills Bank, Commercial Bank of Ceylon, DFCC Bank, Hatton National Bank, National Development Bank, National Savings Bank, Nations Trust Bank, People’s Bank, Sampath Bank, SANASA Development Bank, LB Finance, LOLC Finance, People’s Leasing and Finance, Dialog Axiata and Mobitel.

The LankaQR enabled apps are BOC SmartPay, DirectPay, Onepay, OrelPay, ComBank Q+, Flash, DFCC Pay, FriMi, NDB NEOS, SOLO, WePay, UPay, CIM, iPay, Dialog eZ Cash and Mobitel mCash.

Deputy Governor of the CBSL, K. M. M. Siriwardena said that this initiative would increase financial inclusion in the country, strengthen trade and lead the economy in the path of prosperity.

Dharmasri Kumaratunge, highlighted the benefits of LankaQR and noted that it was the result of teamwork of Sri Lankans without any foreign assistance, saving the country millions of rupees.

CBSL Governor Prof. W. D. Lakshman said that this is a historic moment where all financial institutions came together to promote a payment system that has immense benefits to the public.

State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal emphasised the importance of adopting new technologies for trade and economic development. He said the CBSL has been modernising Sri Lanka’s payments and settlements systems since the early 2000s and praised the continued adoption of new technologies that provided Sri Lankans with more opportunities for trade and commerce.

Minister of Trade Dr. Bandula Gunawardena called on all businesses and government services to adopt LankaQR so that the public can enjoy the benefits of digital payments at a very low cost. The Minister also called on financial institutions to waive off charges for LankaQR transactions below Rs.100 and requested State media and other media organisations, and all businesses to extend their fullest support to this national initiative.

To mark the launch of the LankaQR initiative, the Minister made a donation to the ‘Itukama’ Covid fund using a LankaQR based mobile app.

The national campaign of Rata Puraama LankaQR was due to be held yesterday where all LankaQR certified banks, finance companies and e-money service providers were to keep open branches islandwide to welcome new merchants.

The public and merchants are invited to participate in the islandwide campaign and begin using LankaQR to make payments.

State Minister of Money and Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, State Minister of Co-operative Services, Marketing Development and Consumer Protection, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, State Minister of Samurdhi, Household Economy, Micro Finance, Self-Employment, Business Development and Underutilised State Resources Development, Shehan Semasinghe, CBSL Governor Prof. W. D. Lakshman, Members of the Monetary Board including Secretary to the Treasury, S.R. Attygalle. Heads of several government departments, financial institutions and representatives of Chambers of Commerce were also present.