The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) expanded its pioneering ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ initiative in the Galle District with a promotional campaign organised by HNB PLC with the participation of 21 leading financial institutions and telecommunication partners in the country.
The Galle-leg of the national campaign, hosted by HNB PLC at the Magistrate Square, will be the third phase of the island-wide initiative of ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ to introduce LANKAQR as the standard for mobile phone payment apps and digital payments across the island, moving towards a cashless and digitally-savvy society with greater financial inclusion.
“We have successfully introduced a convenient, safe and secure mode of payment for merchants and consumers and we are delighted to see a substantial number of conversions to LANKAQR since its launch last year. The digitalisation of payment solutions in Sri Lanka in this manner has ensured the continuity of business activities and development of not just the financial sector but also the economy at large, despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” CBSL Governor, Deshamanya Prof. W. D. Lakshman said.
“As such, we are delighted to witness a significant number of small and medium enterprises and consumers using the technology in their day to day activities. If the digitalisation of payment solutions continue we will be able to significantly reduce the amount we spend on printing currency and ensure we face the challenges brought on by the pandemic head on,” he also said.
The campaign was attended by several high profile guests and top banks and financial institutions to advance the programme’s overall vision of promoting digital transactions as the new norm, and included city-wide promotions covering major commercial locations in and around the city.
Following the ceremony, several merchants in Galle were presented with the LANKAQR code by the Director of the Department of Payment and Settlements, to conduct transactions.
As LANKAQR is a common Quick Response (QR) code standard introduced together with licensed financial institutions and Lankaclear (Pvt) Ltd. by the CBSL, merchants will no longer need multiple QR codes for different platforms.
Users can make payments via LANKA QR by scanning the code using any digital payment app connected to LANKAQR. Upon completion, merchants will receive an instant SMS notification, confirming the receipt of payment.
Since the launch of the campaign last year, 160,000 merchants across the country have adopted LANKAQR, a faster assimilation to the system compared to the cards industry which took over 30 years to connect 85,000 POS terminals.
The LANKAQR enables banks, financial institutions and telcos to facilitate fast, secure and low-cost digital payments to any merchant or service provider through their digital payment apps and platforms. It also provides customers with a payment mechanism directly from their bank account through the use of any LANKAQR-compliant mobile payment app for all their needs ranging from groceries, healthcare to utilities, and even the purchase of goods from street-side vendors.
HNB hosted the campaign under the patronage of Chief Guest CBSL Governor, Deshamanya Prof. W. D. Lakshman; Guest of Honour Member of Parliament, Chandima Weerakkody; Southern Province DIG, Rohan Silva ;CBSL-appointed LANKA QR Committee Chairman and SDB Bank CEO, Thilak Piyadigama; and Director – Payments and Settlements Department of CBSL, Dharmasri Kumaratunge, together with senior officials from the banks, including HNB Managing Director/CEO, Jonathan Alles and HNB Deputy General Manager – Retail and SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne.
The adoption of LANKAQR by most major financial institutions in Sri Lanka is a progressive step on the path to Sri Lankans fully embracing a future that is inevitably digital, gradually leading to an entirely cashless future of transaction.