Mobile Payments

Feb 28, (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state-run Bank of Ceylon has tied up with an Indian mobile commerce firm to start a text message based electronic payment system that could overtake credit card transactions, officials said. Bank of Ceylon’s new service allows its six million customers to use pay shops that join the system at the cost of a text message using a system developed by India’s, PayMate.

The mobile transaction service will initially start with selected large merchants like SriLankan Airlines, Odel, Singer, Abans and Stone & String before linking up retailers in rural areas.

“This opens a lot of avenues to merchants because we are bringing them six million of our customers,” Bank of Ceylon’s IT chief Nissanka Janaratne said.

“We are going to take this to all the small corner shops because the advantage is that the merchant does not need to invest in a POS [point-of-sale] terminal.”

A point of sale terminal with a telephone is needed to acquire credit card transactions, though a manual document based system have also been used for credit cards, which can delay fraud detection.

A credit card however gives customers a loan, in addition to being a payment system that transfers funds among accou