Technology initiative for tea trade
The Commercial Bank of Ceylon’s participation in an initiative in Sri
Lanka’s tea plantation sector to automate the process of procurement of
tea leaves and settlement for bought leaf will result in sophisticated
technology and banking services reaching a largely under-served segment.
The bank has been designated as the Preferred Bank for the issue of
the first Hybrid Debit Card coupled with Sony ‘FeliCa’ Near Field
Communication (NFC) technology, enabling its promoter Smart Metro (Pvt)
Ltd. to deploy a Debit Card cum Identification Card for tea leaf
suppliers. Armed with these personalised cards linked to savings
accounts at Commercial Bank, tea leaf suppliers have to merely tap their
cards on the data acquisition device to identify each supplier through
NFC technology and to obtain a detailed receipt for the weight of the
All data for automatic calculation of payments to leaf suppliers are
instantly transmitted to a central server by the data acquisition
The server generates a file with fund transfer instructions, which
will be forwarded to Commercial Bank to credit monies earned, to the
accounts of the cardholders.
The account holders may, thereafter, withdraw the money they need
from the ATMs of the Bank or at branch counters. Alternatively they can
also use the card to pay for purchase of goods and services.
“As a Bank that is committed to technology-enabled convenience, we
are delighted to be the banking partner for this new development,”
Commercial Bank’s Managing Director/CEO, Jegan Durairatnam said.
“It is always stimulating to push the boundaries of technology with
ingenious new creations such as hybrid cards, and for the Bank, there is
the added satisfaction of reaching and encouraging savings to a new and
economically-important segment,” he said.
The Integrated Circuit Chip cards procured by Smart Metro carry
properties for the payment card application as well as for the tea leaf
collection system. The NFC technology partner for Smart Metro in this
venture is Sony Corporation, Japan.
Several plantation companies that purchase tea leaves from thousands
of tea leaf suppliers have expressed interest in migrating to the Smart
Tea Procurement System that utilises this technology, a Bank official