ECONOMYNEXT – Real-time digital transactions on Sri Lanka’s common electronic fund transfer system more than doubled in the third quarter of 2018 from a year ago as use of low-value cheques fell, according to the Central Bank.
The total value of financial transactions on the Common Electronic Fund Transfer Switch (CEFTS) shot up 119 percent to 174 billion rupees in the third quarter of 2018 from 79 billion rupees in the same quarter of 2017, its latest payments bulletin showed.
The number of CEFTS members – commercial banks, specialized banks and finance companies – rose 20 percent to 36 over the same period.
In 2017, 274 billion rupees worth of transactions were done on CEFTS, a real-time fund transfer switch enabling customers to do domestic interbank fund transfers more conveniently at any time.
CEFTS is operated by LankaPay, a clearing house owned by the Central Bank and other public and private commercial banks, and allows customers to do domestic interbank fund transfers up to five million rupees in real time.
The bulletin showed that the average volume of CEFTS transactions a day also more than doubled to over 20,000 while the average daily value of trades also rose sharply from less than a billion rupees to almost two billion rupees.
The Central Bank is trying to encourage a shift to digital transactions and away from cash and cheques which can be costly and time consuming.
Cheques remain the most popular non-cash retail payment instrument in Sri Lanka which accounted for 67.5 percent of the value of total non-cash retail payments in the third quarter of 2018.
The total number of cheques cleared during the third quarter of 2018 fell 3.2 percent from the previous year, mainly because of a drop in low value transactions although the number of cheques above 100 million rupees rose eight percent.
(COLOMBO, April 05, 2019-SB)