LankaClear, a provider of payments infrastructure in Sri Lanka, and JCB International (JCBI) have agreed to set up the National Card Scheme (NCS) to introduce the issuance of LankaPay-JCB co-branded cards in the country.

Owned by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and all licensed commercial banks operating in Sri Lanka, LankaClear was established in February 2002 as the ‘National Cheque Clearing House’.

Additionally, both parties will work together to promote the acceptance of cards with JCB payment solutions. The LankaPay-JCB co-branded cards will be issued by LankaClear participant members.

The LankaPay-JCB co-branded cards can be accepted across the globe through the JCB international network and locally via the LankaClear network.

JCBI said that the strategic collaboration will also support the acceptance of international JCB cards at ATMs and merchants accepting LankaPay-JCB co-branded cards throughout Sri Lanka.

LankaClear and JCBI aim to complete the implementation and launch of the issuance and the acceptance of LankaPay-JCB co-branded cards by beginning of 2018.

LankaClear general manager and CEO Channa de Silva said: “Our quest is to promote cost effective and efficient electronic transactions with the primary objective of reducing cash based transactions, thus, reduce the burden on the economy.

“In this context, NCS is one of the key elements in which we envisage to increase the usage of car based transaction in the country via our Common Card And Payment Switch (CCAPS). By conducting a transparent selection process, LankaClear identified JCB as the partner for NCS based on a set of stringent evaluation criteria and subsequently carrying out extensive negotiations from the pool of proposals received from many international card schemes.

“The primary objective of the selection was to select the partner who would give the best value proposition to this national endeavour. Launching NCS in partnership with JCB payment solutions would be a significant milestone in the Sri Lankan payment ecosystem to reduce cash usage.”