The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), the driving force of the country’s financial sector, has declared the year 2020 as the Year of Digital Transactions and often strives to come out with digital solutions for financial transactions in compliance with the international standards and incorporate new technology in to the same in a timely manner.
National Savings Bank (NSB), which stands tall among the giants of the financial sector with 20.9 m accounts, an asset base surpassing Rs. 1 trillion and a deposit base exceeding Rs. 1 trillion, keeps new technology at the forefront and provides safe internet banking services as per global standards and guidelines of the Central Bank. Accordingly, its core banking system will go live in near future and a smart application will also be introduced.
NSB has joined hands with the national program of promoting QR in urban as well as rural areas. The promotional programs held under this in several districts has clearly contributed to popularise QR among the people. The number of customers who get registered with the QR system and the number of transactions carried out through the QR System is on the increase daily. Further, it is promising to note that the small and medium scale business persons who transact through current accounts are directing their income to their savings accounts through QR Codes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, using QR Codes became essential more than ever as a measure of minimising usage of notes and coins, where the virus can remain for hours. Therefore, persuading people to use QR can be identified as a corporate as well as a national responsibility.
However, encouraging a people who have used physical money for a long time to get used to new technological aspects is challenging. Similarly, there are many difficulties when using physical money. Not having change is at the top of the list. As a solution to all such problems of using cash ‘Cash Wade’ (Hassle of Cash) program was implemented by the QR community and considering the positive responses received by NSB branches, the bank has taken the initiative in organising the Kandy District QR promotional program, ‘QR to Kandy’ (‘Nuwarata QR’), held recently in the city of Kandy, a world-famous tourist destination in the island. In parallel to this program, best customers of the bank in the Kandy region were felicitated.
While the new inventions of the financial sector and new technological applications are popular among urban and young segments of the society, further assistance and guidance of the Ministry of Finance and CBSL is required to popularise them among rural segments as well. As per the Department of Census and Statistics, Sri Lanka has been able to achieve an economic growth of 1.5% during the third quarter of 2020 in comparison to the previous year.
Central Bank Governor Prof. W.D. Lakshman has projected that the economic growth of the country will increase from 5% to 6% during the year 2021 and accordingly, NSB strictly believes that all of us should ensure our maximum contribution to revitalise the agricultural and service production process during 2021 and the development of QR as the national digital payment solution would support this course immensely.