Sri Lanka’s Central Bank (CB) together with LankaClear (Pvt) Ltd (LCPL) this week achieved a significant milestone in the country’s payment landscape by launching the National Card Scheme (NCS).
NCS will be operated by LCPL in partnership with the international payment card operator JCB International of Japan. Initially, a debit card will be issued under this card scheme.
Additionally, the NCS cards will be accepted across over 4,800 ATMs island-wide connected to LankaPay network to facilitate cash withdrawals, the CB said in a media release.
The first LankaPay-JCB co-badged debit card issued by MCB Bank went live via acquiring banks of the Common Point of Sales (CPS) Switch, namely, Cargills Bank and Commercial Bank of Ceylon.
Seylan Bank will also join CPS on a non-commercial basis. Customers of MCB Bank who have been issued with LankaPay-JCB co-badged debit cards can now use all Point of Sale (POS) terminals operated by these banks.
The NCS initiated in 2017 by LCPL under the CB’s direction aims to bring in greater autonomy to the country’s payment infrastructure and reduce the current outflow of foreign exchange as service fees when making local currency payments.
Enabling financial inclusion is one of the prime objectives of NCS. With the launching of the NCS, financial institutions will be able to offer card based payment solutions to their customers at a lower cost.
All local currency transactions of LankaPay Cards shall be routed locally via LankaPay National Payment network, while the foreign currency transactions shall be routed via the JCB International switch.
Expressing his views at the launch, CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy stated that: "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."
He congratulated the MCB Bank for being the first bank to issue the LankaPay NCS card and thanked Cargills Bank, Commercial Bank of Ceylon and Seylan Bank for joining the CPS and facilitating POS transactions of NCS.
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