Sri Lanka plans local payment card, mobile switch for e-wallets

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is setting up the infrastructure for a domestic payment card and a switch to transfer cash between mobile wallets to promote cashless transactions, Deputy Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said.

"We are improving the national payments system to promote electronic payments, which will lead to lower cash use in the society," Weerasinghe told BankTech Asia 2017 in Colombo, a forum organized by Malaysia-based Knowledge Group.

Sri Lanka now has Visa and Mastercard debit card facilities in banks, and debit and automated teller cards that can be used to make payments.

The cost of international payments cards was high for small merchants. Sri Lanka has already set up a domestic switch to clear automated teller machine transactions at a lower cost.

Weeresinghe said the domestic switch will be set up to make payments through a domestic payment card, which is of a lower cost and will encourage more merchants to use electronic payments.

At the moment, ‘mobile wallets’ are being offered by telecom operators, but cash cannot be transferred between them. The Central Bank is also setting up a mobile switch.  "The mobile switch will allow interoperability," Weerasinghe said.

BankTech Asia was held in Colombo from March 21 to 22, and dealt with banking technology trends in Asia. (Colombo/Mar22/2017)

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