Sri Lankan bankers urge shift to digital payments

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka needs to encourage a shift to digital payments, and reduce cash and cheque transactions without further delay, bankers have said.

Shifting to payment cards and electronic payments will not only yield cost savings, but also make transactions more convenient for customers, said Jonathan Alles, chief executive of Hatton National Bank.

“In addition to making sure we increase penetration of digital payments, we need to reduce cash and drive down cheque use,” he told a forum on the future of transactions organised by the Payment Card Industry Association of Sri Lanka.

Use of cheques is a “huge cost”, Alles said. “It is a costly exercise for all of us who have experienced managing inward clearing in the morning, clearing cheques right through the day and clearing positions at the end of the day.

“There’s no need for any of this if you can digitise the bazaar – in Dambulla, Kurunegala and Colombo.”

Alles said banks should start migrating their cash transactions from counters to automated teller machines, and then to the internet and mobile phone systems.

“These are changes we need to look at very fast – all bankers need to get together and lobby the central bank, which can take the lead in this shift.”
(COLOMBO, Sept 9, 2016)

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