Debit, credit cards see 19.5% growth in 1H 2017

Andrew Craig, Head of Corporate Communications, India, South Asia and Southeast Asia, Prasanna Kotian, Senior Director, Corporate Communications, India and South Asia, visa with Anthony Watson.

Sri Lanka’s credit and debit card growth has witnessed a 19.5% increase in the first six months of 2017 as against the previous year, said Visa Country Manager for Sri Lanka, Anthony Watson.

He said today there are over 19.5 million of cards in circulation in Sri Lanka which is around 90% of the population. “I think the main reason for this is the growth of E-Commerce industry. In addition aggressive promotions made by banks have also helped increased the card usage. In addition key infrastructure too has got in to place which makes card payments easier. I must also say that the highest usage of cards is seen in the retail stores like super markets followed by leisure sector and then for airline ticketing.”

He said that E-Channelling is another area where there is an increase in growth and also the health sector. Watson also noted that the payment of utility bills and mobile payments too are rising. Total transactions done on cards last year sans cash withdrawals was Rs 290 billion. “This number will be surpassed in 2017,” he said.

He however said that there is a lot of opportunity for the industry to grow as only 4.2% of transactions were done on cards. “However this figure is fast decreasing as payments on card are increasing.”

The numbers of POS devices installation as rapidly increased and today there are 44,832 POS devices in use. “Digital transformation is bringing Sri Lankans closer to one another in the community and also to the world,” he said.

Last month, Visa’s Country Manager for Sri Lanka, Anthony Watson, travelled 1,168 km around the country on a three wheeler in the pursuit of going cashless and raising funds for charity as part of the 2017 Pimp My TukTuk challenge. This is the second year the Pimp My TukTuk challenge has taken place in Sri Lanka and in 2017 the journey saw 52 local and international riders in 26 tuk tuks raise more than US$ 250,000 for local charities across the country.

“People will benefit from knowing just how safe and convenient cashless payments can be. They need to know how simple and easy making a payment by cards today. With their smartphones, they had access to the internet and knew how to make online payments. They were also using the opportunity to educate the older generation of business owners on the possibilities of technology.

As the usage of smartphones and internet grows throughout Sri Lanka, so will the willingness on the part of consumers to embrace technology. Various business models and apps being used are going to change the landscape for payments in Sri Lanka. There is likely to be a surge of growth in digital payments in this manner.”

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