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An Introduction to the Common Card and Payment Switch (CCAPS) and The LankaPay - Common ATM Switch (CAS) As our Nation endeavors to become the "Financial Hub of Asia", having a robust, efficient and secure payments infrastructure is of paramount importance. Further, having a sound payments infrastructure will facilitate the rapid economic growth and financial system stability. The Common Card and Payment Switch (CCAPS) acts as yet another first towards achieving these National objectives. It all begins with the launch of the Common ATM Switch (CAS) on the 23rd of July, 2013, for the very first time in Sri Lanka by LankaClear (Pvt) Ltd. CCAPS would be known by the brand name of "LankaPay", which will be the National version of an international payment network and in the future will connect with international networks thus giving it a global reach.

One of the key benefits of this centralized national infrastructure is that there would be one integrated electronic payment system that has:

  • Secure real-time payments
  • Unified System Rules and Procedures
  • Standardized Security
  • Greater efficiency in payment scheme integration
  • Faster introduction of new Payment Schemes and Systems
  • Greater inclusion of all demographics
  • Ubiquity
  • Greater cost benefits

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) appointed LankaClear to implement and operate this National CCAPS, which is an integrated payment system of multiple domestic payment networks such as Common ATM Switch (CAS), Common POS Switch (CPS), Common Electronic Fund Transfer Switch (CEFTS) and Common Mobile Switch (CMobS). As the first step, LankaPay CAS was launched, as Phase I of CCAPS. The other payment networks will be implemented subsequently in a phased manner.

LankaPay CAS will revolutionize ATM based services in Sri Lanka. Previously the consumers may have been reluctant to use their Debit or Credit card at another bank's ATM, because of the considerably high cost on such cash withdrawals or due to security concerns. Thus the consumers were inconvenienced, as they had to seek an ATM belonging to their own bank's ATM network. But the consumer will not be inconvenienced anymore, because now when they use any ATM of a bank connected to LankaPay, the consumers can be assured that they will be charged a minimal fee for their transaction with added assurance of security of the transaction. Therefore, consumers anywhere in Sri Lanka, should seek an ATM with the LankaPay logo to withdraw cash or check your balance with the convenience of being able to do same at any ATM and confidence that it will be at a minimal cost. Thus LankaPay with effect from 23rd of July, 2013, eliminates the hassle of having to use ATMs of the consumers' own bank network only for cash withdrawals and balance inquiry by facilitating these services for the cardholders of any LankaPay CAS member bank. Although initially LankaPay CAS will facilitate cash withdrawals and balance inquiries, as a next step, based on market demand, other ATM based services too would be enabled.

LankaPay CAS has gone live with the participation of Bank of Ceylon and Peoples' Bank, and all the leading commercial banks have also committed to this national initiative, and currently some of them are already in the process of integrating to LankaPay CAS. LankaPay CAS connects ATM switches of the participant banks to facilitate routing of domestic transactions originating from any ATM of another participant bank in order to obtain authorization for cash disbursement or to obtain information on account balances in the event the ATM is not of the cardholder's own bank. These transactions are referred to as "Not-On-Us" or "Off-Us" transactions. The main function of LankaPay CAS is switching and clearing of these Off-Us payment card based domestic ATM transactions between the Acquirer (i.e. the bank that acquired the transaction via the ATM) and the Issuer (i.e. the bank that has issued the payment card to the cardholder), when the Acquirer and Issuer are not the same bank. The settlement between LankaPay CAS members will be via the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) System operated by CBSL. Here a cardholder of any LankaPay CAS member bank can use any ATM of any other LankaPay CAS member bank in order to withdraw cash or carry out a balance inquiry at a minimal cost, as mentioned above.

This National initiative of CCAPS implemented under the guidance of CBSL, the collaboration of the commercial banks and incorporating international best practices, will bring in much greater convenience, security and cost efficiency to retail payments in Sri Lanka. Further, this will enable banks to innovate new payment products to cater to their customer needs using CCAPS. The full implementation of CCAPS will be a "game changer" that will benefit all participant banks/financial institutions operating in the country and their customers of all demographics.

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