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Sri Lanka’s payment cards domain took a giant leap today when the Commercial Bank of Ceylon in collaboration with LankaPay launched a national credit and debit card with international acceptance.

This National Card Scheme is an initiative implemented by LankaPay in partnership JCB International Co. Ltd, the Japan-based international card, with over 150 million cardholders around the world.

This is the first launch of LankaPay Credit Cards in Sri Lanka and the first time five variants of LankaPay cards -- three credits cards and two debit -- cards were launched by a Sri Lankan Bank.

LankaPay Card is an internationally accepted card, which is cost-effective and equipped with the latest technology and highest security features. All domestic transactions via LankaPay cards are routed locally and when the cards are used overseas the transactions are routed via the JCB International network. This initiative will ensure that no foreign exchange outflow takes place for any local card transaction, which could potentially save the country a considerable amount of foreign exchange, the Bank said.

The commencement of the issuance of LankaPay cards by Commercial Bank in Sri Lanka was celebrated at an event in Colombo at which senior representatives of Commercial Bank, LankaPay and JCB, emphasised the value of the additional width of the payment options, value-added services and customer choice the new card will offer ComBank cardholders.

LankaPay cards issued in Sri Lanka by Commercial Bank will feature dual interface functionality, enabling both contact and contactless transactions at point-of-sale terminals connected to the LankaPay payment network. The cards can also be used at all automated teller machines (ATMs) linked to the LankaPay platform and over 42,000 merchant points island-wide. The card will enable Sri Lankans to enjoy JCB's global merchant network comprising of more than 41 million acceptance locations. The Bank will issue LankaPay branded credit cards in the Platinum, Gold and Classic tiers while the debit cards will be in the Platinum and Classic tiers. The debit card will be the first dual interface card in the country where the user can perform both contactless and contact-enabled transactions at any Point of Sale (POS) device.

Speaking at the launch of the ComBank-LankaPay cards, Commercial Bank Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Mr. Sanath Manatunge said: “We are delighted to offer LankaPay credit and debit cards under National Card Scheme with both local and global acceptance and support a national initiative which is more pertinent now than ever before. Commercial Bank has been associated with JCB for several years and was one of the first banks in Sri Lanka to acquire both LankaPay Cards and JCB cards under the National Card Scheme. JCB cards have also been accepted at our ATMs for the past four years. We believe that this partnership will further strengthen our relationship with JCB while supporting the national economy at a critical time.”

Speaking at this occasion, LankaPay GM/CEO Mr Channa de Silva said: “The launch of ComBank LankaPay cards in Sri Lanka is a giant leap in furtherance of our quest to empower every Sri Lankan with faster, convenient, secure and affordable payment solutions, thereby creating financially inclusivity. LankaPay is committed to bring best-of-breed solutions to Sri Lanka’s national payment infrastructure and has been at the forefront in revolutionizing the country’s banking and financial services sector by keeping the elements ‘innovation’ and ‘convenience’ at its core. We are delighted to have Commercial Bank aboard to issue LankaPay Credit/Debit cards, which will no doubt give a fresh impetus to this initiative of national significance.”

Representing JCB at the event, the company’s Executive Vice President Mr Koya Sakuma said: “JCB has been the leading credit card company in Japan for 60 years and a global payment brand for 40 years. We provide an unparalleled experience for our partners and their customers. Our flexible approach with our partners allows us to exceed expectations, which in turn, helps customers achieve their aspirations. We are excited to have partnered with LankaPay to issue the first ever LankaPay Credit Card under the national card scheme together with Commercial Bank. We are proud to be a partner in this monumental venture.

Commercial Bank joined the common ATM switch of LankaPay in 2014. In 2019, Commercial Bank on boarded the LankaPay Common POS Switch System and became one of the first banks in Sri Lanka to have its point-of-sale network accept LankaPay cards. Later that year, it upgraded its ATM network to accept JCB cards issued outside Sri Lanka for the withdrawal of cash to service the growing number of tourists and business professionals visiting the country, especially from Asia where JCB has a large number of card members.

A pioneer in the Japanese payment industry, JCB International has been committed to expanding its international presence since 1981. It offers a suite of high-quality products and services that meet the diverse needs of customers worldwide. LankaPay cardholders will also be entitled to enjoy the preferential treatment other JCB customers receive worldwide such as travel discounts and airport lounge services.

As the national payment network that functions under the guidance and supervision of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), LankaPay is considered one of the best Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in the region. The entity is owned by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka along with other licensed public and private commercial banks operating in the country. LankaPay has contributed immensely towards minimising the overall cost structure within the financial sector through a common infrastructure, making digital financial services accessible and affordable to everyone.

Commercial Bank cards are the market leader in Sri Lanka with a market share of over 23%. The Bank offers a variety of credit cards in the Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers and a variety of cards in the premium segment. The cards are equipped with ‘Tap ’n Go’ NFC technology and are backed by a strong NFC Point- of-Sale (POS) network. ComBank Cards offer an exciting array of promotions and offers across all categories and also offer the Max Loyalty Rewards scheme for selected card categories covering both credit and debit cards.

Sri Lanka’s first 100% carbon neutral bank, the first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World and the only Sri Lankan bank to be so listed for 12 years consecutively, Commercial Bank operates a network of 270 branches and 950 automated machines in Sri Lanka. Commercial Bank is the largest lender to Sri Lanka’s SME sector and is a leader in digital innovation in the country’s Banking sector. The Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 20 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.

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