Further supporting a cashless payment ecosystem, Sri Lanka's most future-ready bank, HNB PLC, supported the LANKAQR initiative of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) with the onboarding of over 1,500 merchants in the Galle district.
The promotional event hosted by HNB at the Galle Fort Magistrate Court Square was the fourth phase of the 'Rata Purama LANKAQR' campaign launched by the CBSL last year. The extensive promotional campaign, a collaborative effort by the CBSL and 21 financial institutions and telecommunication partners, aims to create awareness regarding cashless payments via QR codes.
"LANKAQR, the latest innovation in the financial sector, has higher traction than any previous initiatives or technologies. The fact that it coincides with an important time in our lives, when we need to continue transactions as normal as possible while exercising social distancing and other hygiene requirements to keep the pandemic at bay, is indeed a silver lining in an otherwise dark grey cloud looming over the whole world.
The staggering statistic of onboarding 190,000 merchants so far is by no means a small number, given that financial institutions were only able to bring in under 100,000 merchants to use POS machines for card payments. Today, there are more people with mobile phones than cards, and even though this mode of payment will continue to evolve, so will the integration of cards to mobile phones, establishing one consistent application of payment for all in the future," HNB Managing Director and CEO, Jonathan Alles said.
The event was held under the patronage of Chief Guest CBSL Governor Deshamanya Prof. W.D. Lakshman, Guest of Honour Member of Parliament, Chandima Weerakkody, CBSLappointed 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.
Following the ceremony, several merchants in Galle were presented with the LANKAQR code to conduct transactions by the CBSL Director. Teams from HNB customer centres in the region were also on-site to help raise awareness among merchants in the area on the potential of cashless and contactless payment options available via HNB SOLO.
“The number of merchants converting to LANKAQR will be augmented further and we believe this number will soon cross over a million in the coming months. This compelling initiative has brought merchants and corporates, big and small, to offer their supply chains and customers an automated logistically sound payment solution that is integrated to one platform.
The statistics we have for HNB for instance is quite compelling as well. While we are working on extending the facility at a national level, I would also like to recognize our teams down south who have done a phenomenal job in onboarding over 1,500 merchants in the region to LANKAQR and HNB SOLO,” Alles added.
Launched in 2019 as HNB's flagship digital payments solution, SOLO provides the convenience of digital transactions via the affordable, easy and widely-adaptable QR code, a more cost-effective option when compared to alternative payment solutions available in the market.
Having already linked LANKAQR to SOLO, HNB is among the leading financial institutions and telecommunication partners driving a cashless QR-code based payments revolution that aims to make mobile phone payment apps and digital payments the standard for day-to-day transactions island-wide.
As LANKAQR is a common Quick Response (QR) code standard developed 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 SOLO. Upon completion, merchants will receive an instant SMS notification confirming the receipt of payment.
The bank has continuously bolstered SOLO's features and functionality while refining its user interface to make QR-based payments intuitive, easy to use, and versatile. SOLO has also provided extensive promotions and rewards to its growing user base. Additionally, the app can digitally store all payment instruments, including VISA, MASTER debit and credit cards, and any bank account connected to the JustPay payment ecosystem.
With 252 customer centres across the country, HNB is one of Sri Lanka's largest, most technologically innovative banks, having won local and global recognition for its efforts to drive forward a new paradigm in digital banking. Over the recent past, the bank was ranked among the World Top 1,000 Banks list compiled by the prestigious UK-based Banker Magazine. HNB has a national rating of AA- (lka) by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd.
HNB was also declared Best Sub-Custodian Bank in Sri Lanka at the Global Finance Awards 2020. The bank further won the Award for the Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka for the 11th time at the Asian Banker Awards 2020, in recognition of its sustainable growth and continuous improvements in processes, products and services amidst a challenging macroeconomic environment.
HNB Deputy General Manager - Retail and SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne completing a transaction via HNB SOLO at Mobile Vision from its proprietor Mohamed Farzan with HNB Regional Business Head Southern Region, Rajitha Wijenayake and HNB Regional Credit Head Southern Region Shalindra Karunarathne