LB Finance Mobile Wallet to drive cashless Sri Lanka vision

Photos Lalith Perera

By Uwin Lugoda

A decade or two ago, a cashless society sounded like something out of a science fiction novel, but today many major cities around the world have made the switch from using physical money to using smartphones to pay for their daily necessities.
One of the biggest examples of this can be seen in countries like Sweden, where a nationwide survey showed that as of 2018, only 13% of Swedes reported using physical cash to pay for their transactions, and China, where most of Beijing’s residents use smartphones to pay for almost everything. This transition from traditional cash can be also seen in Colombo, where people have started to use smartphones to pay for their groceries and even transportation.
However, while major cities like Colombo and Kandy have been adapting to this new concept, it’s still foreign to a majority of Sri Lankans. This slow adoption rate witnessed in the rural parts of the country can be attributed to a lack of trilingual options and cashless solutions not being marketed to them.
In order to solve this problem, LB Finance has released the “CIM (Cash In Mobile) Mobile Wallet”, an app catering to the whole of Sri Lanka with the goal of fast-forwarding the country into becoming a cashless society.
According to the company, the availability of smartphones and data connectivity amongst the majority of the population, even in rural areas, has been a big game-changer, making it possible to achieve such a goal.
The CIM Mobile Wallet comes in the form of two apps – the CIM Customer app and CIM Business app, both of which cater to the specific needs of both the customer and service provider.
The CIM Customer app gives customers the ability to make payments at CIM merchants by scanning a QR code or sending money using the merchant’s mobile number. Additionally, users can perform airtime reloads to their phones, pay their utility bills, and transfer money to any bank account.
The app also hosts a trilingual option, catering to the Sinhalese, Tamil, and English-speaking communities in the country.
“Our app is in all three languages; that is one of the biggest advantages we have over other apps with similar concepts,” said LB Finance Lead Customer Experience Officer Asel Molligoda, when speaking to The Sunday Morning Business during the official launch of the app on 7 December.
He explained that its trilingual feature makes it user-friendly; the company consulted with users in order to make the user interface more understandable to them.
Molligoda stated that the app targets communities outside of Colombo, after seeing the potential for such a concept in areas where the underbanked segment is large.
“While we are targeting the whole of Sri Lanka, we are focusing mostly outside of Colombo, like the north-central area, Down South or the East.”
According to Molligoda, the app facilitates transactions of any size, ranging from a minimum amount of Rs. 1 to a maximum of Rs. 200,000-plus, replacing the need for repeated visits to ATMs.
The CIM Business app is also set to provide CIM-registered merchants additional benefits by bringing in customised technological conveniences designed to help them develop their retail businesses and provide a platform to manage their business cash flows more efficiently and securely.
As for CIM Customer app users, they are set to receive various discounts and special offers on products and services through the app.
The app is a Central Bank-approved mobile payment platform and has adhered to all applicable payment-related mobile security guidelines. According to the company, an independent mobile application security audit had been done to verify the security aspects of the platform and its compliance to regulations.
Furthermore, in order to enable interbank QR payments, the app has been developed in compliance with LankaQR – the national QR code system – guidelines.
Molligoda stated that the company is not looking to make major revenue off the apps, but instead has a short-term target of introducing the app to communities across Sri Lanka.
“As of now, our goal is to extend our brand to people who have not experienced it before, and also use this opportunity to help them get on board with our other products.”
Molligoda explained that the app has already been available for around two months and has been downloaded over 1,000 times, by both customers and merchants. He went on to state that following the initial few months, the response for the app has been very positive so far.
According to Molligoda, the midterm goal of the company is to make the app more accessible by finding a way to extend it to feature phones, to cater to the consumer segment that don’t use smartphones.
He stated that eventually the company hopes that everyone would join the platform and make Sri Lanka a cashless society.
“Wherever you make a payment, we want to be there; from the small roadside shops to the largest malls. We want to make this a cashless society.”
Currently, the CIM Customer app and the CIM Business app are available for both iOS and Android devices.