Indian tourists can now make UPI payments in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Feb 12 : Indian tourists in Sri Lanka will be able to make digital payments through UPI with the launch of the facility in the island nation on Monday.

Unified Payments Interface (UPI) services were rolled out in Sri Lanka and Mauritius, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi describing it as linking historic ties with modern digital technology.

India’s RuPay card services were also launched in Mauritius at a virtual ceremony attended by Prime Minister Modi, his Mauritian counterpart Pravind Jugnauth and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

India’s NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL) and Central Bank of Sri Lanka-owned LankaPay joined hands to provide a seamless payment solution to tourists with the launch of UPI services.

“This interface facilitates inter-bank and person-to-person transactions as well as person-to-merchant transactions, using mobile phones,”  Wasantha Alwis, Director (Payments and Settlements) of the Central Bank, told reporters.

“It provides the facility to transfer funds between bank accounts in India and also has a feature to use a QR code and make a payment to a merchant,” Alwis added.

He said Indian tourists are the biggest inbound market to Sri Lanka with nearly 300,000 arrivals in 2023. “This is a very good seamless digital payment mechanism. When they are here, they don’t need to worry about conversion rates. It is a great convenience to Indian tourists,” he added.

Alwis said businesses can easily obtain QR codes by contacting their respective financial institutions and reaching a trade agreement. He emphasised that all banks and financial institutions registered with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka are mandated to issue these codes.

Conrad Dias, another senior official, said Sri Lanka’s small and medium-scale businesses should see this as a huge opportunity as they would be gaining new customers with this initiative.

The scheme aims to rapidly expand its reach, with an estimated 10,000 merchants expected to accommodate UPI payments for Indian nationals within weeks of its launch. By the end of March 2024, this number is projected to reach 65,000, officials said. (PTI)