Visa celebrates 30 years of digital payments in Sri Lanka

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Visa's Regional Chairman Asia Pacific Chris Clark addresses the media conference to celebrate Visa's 30 years in Sri Lanka

Visa, the global leader in digital payments technology, today completed 30 years of operations in Sri Lanka since commencing operations in 1988. Continuing its pioneering efforts to build awareness for digital payments in Sri Lanka, Visa celebrated the milestone by announcing initiatives to promote digital access, and digital and financial literacy across rural communities through its collaboration with Sarvodaya Fusion.

Visa will also be sending 30 three-wheelers across the country to promote the simplicity and the value digital payments bring about to everyday lives, helping every day Sri Lankans realise the true potential of going digital.

“Over the past 30 years, we have been able to forge strong partnerships with Sri Lanka’s financial institutions, partners and merchants in empowering and facilitating digital payment solutions,” said Chris Clark, Regional President, Asia Pacific, Visa. “It gives us immense pride to see Visa now firmly established as the leading digital solution for commerce in the country. Through the initiatives announced today, we reinforce our commitment to further build awareness and acceptance for digital payments across Sri Lanka.”

Visa will be partnering with Sarvodaya Fusion, the community based development organisation network, in a three-phased program to inform, engage and educate consumers and businesses across Sri Lanka of the benefits of transitioning to a digital platform. Meanwhile, the three wheeler initiative on digital payments will witness Visa’s clients including banks, merchants and technology partners joining hands in a coordinated effort to inform and influence audiences across 30 towns and cities across the country.

“From EMV pin-based cards to state-of-the-art contactless technology-based cards, Visa has continued to be at the forefront of driving innovation in the market. With the rapid evolution of digital payments in Sri Lanka, we are excited about the potential for digital payments in the country for years to come,” said TR Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, India & South Asia, Visa.

As a large cash based economy, Sri Lanka has been making rapid strides in transitioning towards a digital economy.

As a recent study estimated, Colombo, with a population of 694,000 and GDP of US$6.5B, could alone gain US$200M annual net benefits by transitioning into a digital economy. Estimated catalytic impacts for the city over the next 15 years include 20.4 basis point increase in GDP growth rate and 2.1% increase in employment.

Recognising the huge potential for digital payments in the country, in 2016 Visa opened its first office in the country and has since continued to expand its footprint along with its clients and merchant partners. Visa is currently associated with 29 banks and nine finance companies helping it offer debit, credit, commercial and prepaid services to Sri Lankans across the country.

Visa’s first Country Manager for Sri Lanka & Maldives, Anthony Watson said, “In under two years, we have been able to further reinforce our leadership in the market. Continued support from our clients and consumers as well as the progressive approach to the payments industry adopted by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka have been critical in this journey. We look forward to introducing many more innovative solutions that we hope will help support Sri Lanka’s transition towards a digital economy.”

(Media Release)