It has been turned out that people are stockpiling notes and coins at a faster pace than before, indicating that they have become cautious in coming into contact with physical currency, due COVID-19 fears.
The Central Bank has observed some slowdown in the currency stock being returned to banks in recent months as people may be stockpiling notes and coins while engaging in digital transactions.
Interestingly, the Central Bank has identified 2020 as the year of digital transactions. Various activities from awareness campaigns to popularisation of digital payment applications and platforms have been launched this year.
The most recent one was the launch of the ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ campaign, where a common quick response (QR) code standard adopted by financial institutions was introduced to facilitate fast, secure and low-cost digital payments to any merchant, specially to small and medium enterprises. The Central Bank said the banks had held talks with major supermarket chains in the country recently to make them QR payment-compliant so that they would soon be able to receive payments via the simple application.