Digital financial transactions double from 2021-2022 | Sunday Observer

Digital financial transactions double from 2021-2022

10 September, 2023

Digital financial transactions are rapidly increasing in Sri Lanka and it has doubled from 2021 to 2022 and in the first quarter of 2023 too and this very healthy trend is maintaining its upward momentum, said General Manager/Chief Executive Officer of LankaClear, Channa De Silva.

There were two million credit cards and 19.2 million debit cards in use as at Q1, 2023.

He said that the total value of transactions done via credit cards in the first quarter of 2022 was 90.9 billion and it had increased to 130.9 billion in the first quarter of this year, a 43% increase. In contrast, debit card transactions done in the first quarter of 2022 was 116.5 billion and it had increased to 145.9 billion in the first quarter of this year, a 25.2% increase.

Transitions done via the Common Electronic Fund Transfer Switch (CEFTS) too have shown a significant increase. The total value of financial transactions done in the first quarter of 2022 which was 1,891 billion had zoomed to 2,741 billion in the Q1 of 2023, a 50.7 % increase.

“We see this upward trend which really accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic now continuing especially in urban areas. However, since Sri Lanka has a huge rural population digital financial transactions must be adopted across the country for the benefit of marginalised communities,” he said.

Director, Payments and settlements, Central Bank, Vasantha Alwis said that in contrast to this growth there is also a very small percentage of frauds that are reported. “In a bid to minimise such financial frauds we are now creating awareness among people on what precautions they should take when carrying out digital financial transactions safely.”

He said that the common types of ‘Payment Related Scams Online Loan Scams are: Lottery and Prize Frauds, Donation related Scams, Phishing Scams and Credit / Debit Card Scams. He said that the best and safest way to avoid financial fraud is to rely on the One Time Password (OTP) that comes to the phone when doing a transaction.

Second is never to give out the PIN of the credit or debit card to any one at any time. “These are the golden rules to avoid fraud. Once a person detects a fraud he or she must first inform the bank. The CBSL too has fraud monitoring and prevention units as well.”

LankaPay, the country’s National Payment Network has partnered with Sri Lanka Banks’ Association, SL CERT, FinCSIRT and the entire financial sector to counter social engineering attacks and financial scams with a national level public awareness campaign as recommended by the National Payments Council which is chaired by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL). This is supported by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).