Media Center

HNB partners Keells supermarkets to disrupt digital payments with Dynamic QR

(from Left) CBSL Director - Payments and Settlements Department, Dharmasri Kumaratunge, Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, State Minister of Digital Technology and Enterprise Development, and Minister of Youth Namal Rajapaksa with Chairman of John Keells Holdings PLC, Krishan Balendra and HNB Managing Director and CEO Jonathan Alles at the launch of the LANKAQR Janagathakaranaya campaign rolling out the Dynamic QR with leading supermarket chain Keells.

Sri Lanka’s most innovative private sector bank HNB PLC partnered with leading supermarket chain Keells to enable LANKA QR payments by facilitating Dynamic QR (Quick Response) transactions for the merchant’s PoS (Point of Sales) terminals supporting the nation’s next evolution in cashless and contactless payments island-wide for tier-one merchants as part of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s (CBSL) LANKAQR Janagathakaranaya campaign.

The tech evolution brought about by the partnership supports the regulator’s national goal of ensuring all QR code-based transactions in the country are standardized and interoperable, facilitating faster, more secure and low-cost digital payments to merchants.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, many customers and merchants have been quick to convert to contactless and cashless payments. At first a lot of this conversion was driven by the need to continue transacting while staying socially distanced. But with more merchants and strong word-of mouth, we are seeing a new wave of users coming on-board for the convenience and reliability of platforms like SOLO.

“Digital transformation has given HNB an unprecedented edge, backed by a robust tech- infrastructure. We were able to ensure a smooth transition to a cashless and contactless world by offering state-of-the-art digital payment platforms. Dynamic QR codes is another milestone in our journey to offer customers the most secure, safe and convenient payment facilities and we are delighted to have partnered with Keells supermarkets to roll out this new technology to the public,” HNB PLC Managing Director/CEO, Jonathan Alles said.

Dynamic QR codes are unique codes generated for each transaction. The new tech eliminates the need to manually enter the payment value, increasing customer convenience and avoiding errors. This allows customers using an app linked with the LANKAQR initiative to make purchases at stores by simply scanning the Dynamic QR, which appears on the display screen of the Point of Sale (PoS) machine.

Most importantly, the partnership will enable all Sri Lankans, including customers of other banks, to complete transactions with Dynamic QR codes, which will appear on the display screens of PoS machines at Keells supermarkets.

“A fast and efficient supermarket checkout is something we strive for to provide an easy and enjoyable shopping experience to customers given the proliferation of smart mobile phones as well as the accelerated adoption of digital solutions by customers. To achieve this, integrating the right technology is of paramount importance. On this front, we believe that Lanka QR will enable our customers to have an easier and faster shopping experience while simplifying our back-end operations. We are delighted to have partnered with HNB to introduce this technology at our stores,” Charitha Subasinghe, President- Retail Sector, John Keells Group said.

The innovation is also beneficial to merchants since the integration of HNB’s system with the merchant’s cash PoS results in real-time confirmation of the purchase and crediting the merchant’s bank account. The transaction fee that the merchants are levied for using the ‘LANKAQR’ platform is significantly lower than the fee charged by international debit/credit card brands.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all businesses, and every Sri Lankan in unique ways. The imperative for all has been to find ways to adapt to this new normal, and ensure that goods and services continue to flow, as much as possible. By investing in technology and innovation, we have been able to keep our supply chain moving, while keeping our customers and employees as safe as we can. Systems like the Dynamic QR codes enabled by HNB will be an essential component of our strategy for adaptation moving forward.

“Given the health concerns of using both cash and cards following the pandemic, the system ensures greater physical safety through contactless payment – a significant safety improvement compared with contact-based alternatives such as cash and card payments,” HNB Deputy General Manager- Retail and SME Banking Sanjay Wijemanne stated.

HNB joined the CBSL initiative with other financial institutions and telecommunication partners to make cashless QR-code based payments the standard for mobile phones and digital payments countrywide, moving towards a cashless and digitally-savvy Sri Lanka. HNB’s highly user-friendly digital payment app and e-wallet, HNB SOLO, is linked with the LANKAQR platform.

This launch of cash PoS integrated dynamic QR technology is among the many innovations HNB has introduced to the Sri Lankan banking industry. HNB was the country’s first bank to launch a fully-fledged mobile banking solution that is device and operator-independent and accessible through SMS, USSD, Smart App and web browser. The bank also introduced mobile PoS technology to Sri Lanka, branded as ‘MoMo’, providing a cost-effective solution to merchants.