Sri Lanka launches digital payment solution National LANKAQR Initiative to make cashless transactions

Sri Lanka launches digital payment solution National LANKAQR Initiative to make cashless transactions

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) in a bid to reduce cash use in Sri Lanka recently launched the digital payment solution National LANKAQR Initiative “Rata Puraama LANKAQR,” which will give small vendors the chance to make cashless transactions using mobile apps.  
LANKAQR code was introduced by the CBSL together with licensed financial institutions and LankaClear (Pvt) Ltd with the aim of moving towards a ‘cashless’ society while increasing financial inclusion in Sri Lanka, the monetary authority said in a statement, local news reports stated.  
“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 of charge by the member institutions of LANKAQR to be displayed at their places of business,” CBSL has stated.  
The maximum Merchant Discount Rate (MDR – fees paid by merchants to the bank that issues the LANKAQR code) will be 0.5% during 2020 and all payments for government services through LANKAQR have been mandated to be free of charge during 2020.

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 2020.
CBSL Deputy Governor K.M.M. Siriwardena has reportedly said at the launch that this initiative would increase financial inclusion in the country, strengthen trade and lead the economy in the path of prosperity. 
Central Bank Payments and Settlements Department Director Dharmasri Kumaratunge has noted the benefits of LANKAQR and has stated that it was the result of Sri Lankan teamwork without any foreign assistance, saving the country millions of rupees.

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

OSL take:

Sri Lanka is currently in the process of transforming in to an e-economy, which has opened up many business/investment opportunities in developing digital payment platforms. Sri Lanka has given priority to the development of ICT and digital infrastructure sectors. Foreign businesses/investors could explore business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s ICT/digital infrastructure sectors. Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean has placed it in a strategic position as a business hub in the South Asian region.  

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Article Code : VBS/AT/13102020/Z_1

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