Visa celebrates 30 years in Sri Lanka


Reiterates commitment to building awareness of digital payments across Sri Lanka

Announces rural digital literacy program with Sarvodaya Fusion and plans to send 30 three wheelers around the country to promote simplicity & value of digital payments


Visa, the global leader in digital payments technology, today completed 30 years of operations in Sri Lanka since commencing operations in 1988. Continuing its pioneering efforts to build awareness for digital payments in Sri Lanka, Visa celebrated the milestone by announcing initiatives to promote digital access, and digital and financial literacy across rural communities through its collaboration with Sarvodaya Fusion.

Visa will also be sending 30 three-wheelers across the country to promote the simplicity and the value digital payments bring about to everyday lives, helping every day Sri Lankans realise the true potential of going digital.

“Over the past 30 years, we have been able to forge strong partnerships with Sri Lanka’s financial institutions, partners and merchants in empowering and facilitating digital payment solutions,” said Chris Clark, Regional President, Asia Pacific, Visa. “It gives us immense pride to see Visa now firmly established as the leading digital solution for commerce in the country. Through the initiatives announced today, we reinforce our commitment to further build awareness and acceptance for digital payments across Sri Lanka.”

Visa will be partnering with Sarvodaya Fusion, the community based development organisation network, in a three-phased program to inform, engage and educate consumers and businesses across Sri Lanka of the benefits of transitioning to a digital platform. Meanwhile, the three wheeler initiative on digital payments will witness Visa’s clients including banks, merchants and technology partners joining hands in a coordinated effort to inform and influence audiences across 30 towns and cities across the country. 

“From EMV pin-based cards to state-of-the-art contactless technology-based cards, Visa has continued to be at the forefront of driving innovation in the market. With the rapid evolution of digital payments in Sri Lanka, we are excited about the potential for digital payments in the country for years to come,” said TR Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, India & South Asia, Visa.

As a large cash based economy, Sri Lanka has been making rapid strides in transitioning towards a digital economy. As a recent study1 estimated, Colombo, with a population of 694,000 and GDP of US$6.5B, could alone gain US$200M annual net benefits by transitioning into a digital economy. Estimated catalytic impacts for the city over the next 15 years include 20.4 basis point increase in GDP growth rate and 2.1% increase in employment.

Recognising the huge potential for digital payments in the country, in 2016 Visa opened its first office in the country and has since continued to expand its footprint along with its clients and merchant partners. Visa is currently associated with 29 banks and nine finance companies helping it offer debit, credit, commercial and prepaid services to Sri Lankans across the country.

Visa’s first Country Manager for Sri Lanka & Maldives, Anthony Watson said, “In under two years, we have been able to further reinforce our leadership in the market. Continued support from our clients and consumers as well as the progressive approach to the payments industry adopted by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka have been critical in this journey. We look forward to introducing many more innovative solutions that we hope will help support Sri Lanka’s transition towards a digital economy.”


1 Cashless Cities: Realising the Benefits of Digital Payments – Roubini ThoughtLab study commissioned by Visa


About Visa

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere.  As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit and @VisaNews.


Five trends shaping the future of payments in Sri Lanka

  1. Convergence of online and offline payment forms - Technology is evolving fast and is impacting not only the way we live and work but also in how we make payments. Seamless payment platforms that work securely anywhere on any device or with any form factor promises to be the innovation of the future. From contactless cards to wearables, payment security and convenience combine as an online experience for consumers who spend more time on line. Everything becomes a Point of Sale - State-of-the-art software that can turn almost any device or a locale into a potential POS, whether the transaction is physical or digital.
  2. Digitisation as an enabler for Financial inclusion – Around the world, it has now been proven how going digital can directly contribute to the growth of the economy. As a large cash based economy, Sri Lanka has been making rapid strides in transitioning towards a digital economy. As a recent study2 estimated, Colombo, with a population of 694,000 and a GDP of US$6.5B, could alone gain US$200M annual net benefits by transitioning into a digital economy.
  3. The power of messaging platforms –  Popular messaging platforms such as FaceBook Messenger, What’sApp and WeChat, used by billions of people all over the world, form new ecommerce opportunities that allow merchants to connect with consumers and accept payments via simple solutions such as a text message, without even leaving the App.
  4. Transactions without Borders – the entry of Blockchain – A shared digital ledger that is networked, is also known as a “blockchain,” which can keep records of transactions in real time;  data is shared but not copied, making it a useful platform for new kinds of currencies and payments
  5. Fintechs – Coopetition and not competition - The very fact that financial institutions are already investing in accelerators, incubators, hackathons and acquihiring is a testimony to the need for coopetition rather than competition. Banks and fintechs need to leverage each other's strengths. While banks have the consumer's trust, fintechs bring agility and speed of innovation.