Speaking to Arteculate, the CEO of LankaClear, Channa De Silva, once said, “Startups should look towards offering convenience to their customers. If the service is seamless, then they’ll have the push to make payments digitally.” For those looking for inspiration, he pointed at PickMe as a shining example of a seamless service that helps drive the adoption of digital payments.
For many years, Sri Lanka has been a predominantly cash-based economy. But over the past year and a half, its dominance has been shaken. Stuck at home and reliant on online services like PickMe to source our daily needs, we’ve increasingly opted for digital payments. From its earliest days, PickMe has encouraged several forms of digital payments.
Now, the company has announced it’ll be introducing support for LankaQR code payments. The move brings several benefits to its many users, helps further drive the adoption of digital payments, and even tackles the foreign exchange crisis. Here’s what it all means for you.
Creating a Safe & Secure Cashless Experience for Customers
So how exactly does one make a QR code payment on PickMe? You now have a new cashless payment option when it comes to moving around or getting groceries delivered. All you have to do is use a financial service of your choice and simply scan the QR code that appears on the driver’s app.
“In the past, merchants who had any form of QR-based payment system required different codes for different digital wallets as used by their customers,” explains the Chief Operating Officer at PickMe, Isira Perera. However, the introduction of LankaQR eliminated this issue by introducing a standard format that all payment providers in Sri Lanka can utilise. As such, its addition to the app means PickMe now offers an additional fast, secure, and convenient cashless experience in a post-pandemic world.
Breaking barriers of entry for drivers and merchants
If you look at the PickMe ecosystem today, you’ll find that it consists of several stakeholders. They include small businesses like home bakers, single mothers ferrying passengers in tuks, and so many more. By eliminating the barriers for them to adopt different methods of digital payments, the company is helping its most important stakeholders – the drivers and merchants. PickMe spent considerable effort to ensure the drivers and merchants delivering the service to you enjoyed the same level of benefits.
Speaking to Arteculate, Isira shared an example, “One thing with digital payments is a fee charged by card providers for each transaction.” These typically range from 1% to 3%, which may seem small but eats into hard-earned profits. “Very early on, PickMe decided to bear this cost to support our drivers and merchants embrace digital payments,” continued Isira. Moves like the above have gone a long way to ensure drivers enjoy the same levels of convenience as customers with digital payments. Yet, this is still only scratching the surface.
The use of digital payment mechanisms offers them a formal statement reporting their income. As such, drivers and small merchants can access the financial system to obtain financing to scale up their businesses.“This has enabled some of our drivers to finance bigger vehicles to move up vehicle categories on the platform, increasing their monthly income. Likewise, small merchants can obtain loans to upscale their business, which was impossible when they operated on cash alone,” Isira points out.
A much-needed boost for the Sri Lankan economy
While Sri Lanka struggles with depleting foreign reserves, there’s a strong push to strengthen the local economy. As we saw above, it’s evident that pushing digital payments goes a long way towards developing the economy. However, the nation struggles with large unseen amounts of money flowing out every day. This outflow is due to the minuscule transaction fees charged in US dollars by foreign payment providers.
Recognising this invisible outflow of funds and determined to support the Sri Lankan economy, PickMe had partnered with LOLC to build an entirely local payment network to support LankaQR payments. The company believes this creates a greater incentive for the public to choose a regional platform for mobility and delivery services. “With LankaQR and the enhanced cashless system, we are hoping to strengthen our local economy and community. This new feature establishes a clear process to ensure money remains within the country and guarantees a positive impact on the economy.”
The introduction of LankaQR payments on the app brings several benefits to everyone across the PickMe ecosystem. It is also part of the company’s efforts to increase the adoption of digital payments in Sri Lanka. When looking beyond Colombo and into rural areas, Isira notes strong smartphone penetration in such areas. For this reason, he’s optimistic about the future.
Such technologies will eliminate barriers to open the financial system to the unbanked. Thus, allowing them to build a more prosperous life for themselves. Paving the way forward for such a future are companies like PickMe by offering a robust and helpful set of services that entice the once hesitant to take the leap and embrace a cashless digital future.