LankaClear (Private) Limited (LankaClear), an organization incorporated in 2002 and owned by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and all Licensed Commercial Banks operating in Sri Lanka, and JCB International Co., Ltd. (JCBI), the international operations subsidiary of JCB Co., Ltd. (JCB), announced on June 20th that both parties have entered into a strategic partnership for the establishment of the National Card Scheme (NCS) to introduce the issuance of LankaPay-JCB co-branded cards and to jointly promote the acceptance of such cards with JCB payment solutions.
By integrating JCB payment solutions to LankaPay participant members and leveraging the planned interconnection between the payment networks of LankaClear and JCB, the LankaPay-JCB co-branded cards issued by LankaClear participant members would be accepted globally via the JCB international network and locally through the LankaClear network.
In addition, the strategic partnership would also facilitate the acceptance of international JCB cards at ATMs and merchants accepting LankaPay-JCB co-branded cards across Sri Lanka. Both parties are targeting to complete the implementation and launch of the issuance and the acceptance of LankaPay-JCB co-branded cards by beginning of 2018.
Through this strategic partnership, the issuance of the LankaPay-JCB co-branded cards would be the first-ever JCB branded cards issued in the country. The acceptance of the internationally issued JCB branded cards in Sri Lanka is expected to reach the same level of acceptance as the LankaPay-JCB co-branded cards issued in Sri Lanka. This would undoubtedly meet the demand of the usage of cards by the increasing number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka, especially those traveling from India, which is the biggest tourist contingent to Sri Lanka where JCBI is expected to have a large card base in the near future.
General Manager and CEO of LankaClear, Channa de Silva said, "Our quest is to promote cost effective and efficient electronic transactions with the primary objective of reducing cash based transactions, thus, reduce the burden on the economy. In this context, NCS is one of the key elements in which we envisage to increase the usage of car based transaction in the country via our Common Card And Payment Switch (CCAPS). By conducting a transparent selection process, LankaClear identified JCB as the partner for NCS based on a set of stringent evaluation criteria and subsequently carrying out extensive negotiations from the pool of proposals received from many international card schemes. The primary objective of the selection was to select the partner who would give the best value proposition to this national endeavour. Launching NCS in partnership with JCB payment solutions would be a significant milestone in the Sri Lankan payment ecosystem to reduce cash usage. I am confident that issuance of LankaPay-JCB co-branded cards by all card issuing organizations and via international acceptance of such cards would strengthen the already established economic relationships and further enhance the exchange of cultural experiences for both nations."
Senior Vice President of JCBI, Yuichiro Kadowaki said, "We are pleased to be selected as the partner for the establishment of NCS and excited to contribute to this national endeavour with our payment solutions. As Sri Lanka is one of the most attractive travel destinations in the world, it is very important for JCB to expand and maintain better acceptance across the country as one of the aspects of the NCS project. In addition, accompanied with the stable economic growth in Sri Lanka, the number of Sri Lankans travelling outside the country would also bound to grow. JCB hopes that extensive card acceptance network and customer oriented services and promotions throughout Asia, including in Japan, could be experienced and enjoyed by such card members of LankaPay-JCB co-branded cards.
We will also explore the opportunity of introducing new payment technologies such as contactless payments and mobile payments in Sri Lanka through this partnership with LankaClear. We are confident that the customers of LankaPay-JCB co-branded cards will experience the benefit of the emerging financial technologies in their daily lives as well as during their travel through this strategic partnership between LankaClear and JCBI."