Sri Lanka has launched its National Card Scheme (NCS) in a bid to bolster payment infrastructure in the country.
The NCS was launched by Central Bank of Sri Lanka in partnership with LankaClear (LCPL). LCPL will operate the scheme in collaboration with the international payment card operator JCB International of Japan.
Initially, NCS will issue a debit card, which will be connected to the LankaPay network. Users can use the card across more than 4,800 ATMs in Sri Lanka.
MCB Bank issued the first LankaPay-JCB co-badged debit card through acquiring banks of the Common Point of Sales (CPS) Switch, namely, Cargills Bank and Commercial Bank of Ceylon.
MCB Bank customers can use now their card at all Point of Sale (POS) terminals operated by these two banks. Seylan Bank will also join CPS on a non-commercial basis.
Central Bank governor Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy said: “This is indeed a momentous occasion for Sri Lanka as the country launches its national card scheme, meeting international standards which will bring immense benefits to Sri Lankan consumers due to its lower cost that enables financial inclusion.”
Sri Lanka National card scheme to boost payment maturity
In 2017, the process to introduce NCS began. The move aimed to reduce outflow of foreign exchange as service fees while making local currency payments. Additionally, NCS will provide greater autonomy to the country’s payment infrastructure.
The launch will enable the financial institutions to offer card based payment solutions at a lower cost. Also, the Sri Lanka National Card Scheme will benefit the underserved sections, which largely make cash based transactions.
All local currency transactions made through the card will transfer through LankaPay National Payment network. Furthermore, the foreign currency transactions will process through the JCB International switch.
‘LankaPay 2in1’ card will launch in the NCS second phase. This chip based NFC card will come with additional stored value functionality for retail payments including public transport.