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iPay.lk – A Digital Merchant Platform from Sri Lanka

Abstract : Mobile device ownership has increased across the globe making it the highest adopted platform. With the rapid technology advancements on the smartphones, improvements on the telecommunication networks, falling handset prices and reducing connectivity costs has resulted in mobile devices becoming the primary instrument which our daily lives revolve around transforming how consumers search, evaluate and procure goods or services. Payments are rapidly moving towards mobile while the commerce been transitioning to mobile. The recent developments in information communication technology has played a pivotal role in facilitating the modern digital businesses by reducing time required to perform transactions between buyers and sellers thus creating different customer behaviours. This new digital business paradigm has also resulted in making physical barriers such as distance and time irrelevant. This paper presents an innovative digital merchant platform (including payments) currently been deployed in Sri Lanka. iPay is a novel solution that operates on the comparatively low cost of mobile devices to increase financial inclusivity in developing economies. One of the key challenges faced in such economies is that only a comparatively small population, concentrated in urban areas have access to banking facilities. There exists a vast potential in the much greater proportion of the population who are primarily engaged in agrarian based activities and cottage industries. The simplified nature of iPay allows this segment to be part of the banking system. iPay also enables the complete ‘digitalisation’ of merchants, with just a smartphone and an internet connection. This allows merchants to become part of a growing digital economy, and enabling other digital ‘strategies’ such as marketing campaigns to improve stock control and management, aiding merchants dealing with perishable goods. Cash accounts for bulk of financial transactions in Sri Lanka, which is primarily due to individuals’ not been able to access money in the banking system. iPay solves this problem by enabling access to funds ‘on-the-go’ which eases the burden of cash management on the economy as well as greatly reduces the risk of cash losses.The nature of the iPay increases financial inclusivity, and helps to alleviate poverty by increasing employment opportunities across the economy. Major percentage of the population in developing countries have limited reach to credit, hindering their growth potential. Banks and financial institutes are unable to grant credit facilities, as they are not operating in the banking system, resulting-in the inability to make a concrete assessment of a person’s credit worthiness. iPay will be able to solve this by performing complex analytics on individuals’ payment patterns in order to assist financial institutions calculate a ‘credit index’. This availability of credit would greatly assist the rural population in developing cottage industries, which would in-turn provide employment as well as earn foreign exchange.
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Parakum Pathirana, Conrad Dias, Thisan Samarasinghe, Shanmugarajah Sinnathamby. iPay.lk – A Digital Merchant Platform from Sri Lanka. 13th IFIP International Conference on Human Choice and Computers (HCC13), Sep 2018, Poznan, Poland. pp.95-110, ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-99605-9_7⟩. ⟨hal-02001928⟩

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