Singer launched its Singer branded credit card through Singer Finance, joining hands with VISA international, on July 8, 2016
Singer Finance recently became the first non-banking financial institution in the country to launch an internationally accepted VISA credit card in a move Thilan Rupasinghe, Head of Credit Cards at Singer said further advances financial innovation and inclusive financial services countrywide specially in rural areas.
He said that they have conducted extensive discussions with the Central Bank and proved their eligibility with sound financial backing and country wide Singer retail net work to get the financial regulators license for credit card operations more accessible to rural professionals and working people, especially in remote areas.
"Credit card services are actually underrepresented in rural areas in terms of quality, quantity and developed services compared to that in urban areas," he said.
At Present, apart from the major Banks, Singer has the highest number of customers being provided with financial facilities at any given time.
Therefore, it was very opportune for Singer to enter the credit card business, he said adding that Credit cards are used in Sri Lanka by around 10 of 9.3 million working population, limited to the urban and semi-urban up market customers.
There were 1.2 million credit cards issued by banks but the number of card holders was around 800,000 as most of them have more than one card.
Under this set up there is huge potential for credit card expansion in the country, he added.
Singer Sri Lanka, with its large and loyal customer base numbering millions across the length and breadth of the country, together with a well-established tradition in customer relations, poised to make its mark in this market, which has massive growth potential.”
He said that many professionals like doctors, engineers, teachers, and administrative officers stationed in rural areas as well rural small and medium-sized entrepreneurs are eager to get Singer credit cards for their transactions especially with Singer outlets offering unmatched concessions for its credit card holders and special offers along with discounts they get from other sales outlets as well.
Singer credit card holders will get a facility of hire purchasing any item including refrigerators and television sets etc at Singer sales outlets at 5 to 50 percent discounted rate and 24 months zero interest rate for their repayments at present he said adding that this facility will be extended to 60 months repayment period from September this year.
Singer Finance has introduced classic and platinum cards for customers and there is no card fee for the first year and fee of Rs 500 and Rs.1000 will be levied for the two types of cards respectively from the second year onwards, he disclosed.
“We have already issued 2,500 credit cards”, Mr.Rupasinghe said adding that there is a great potential for it in the near future with the Central Bank’s push towards plastic money.
These Singer credit cards with a special security chip will enable cardholders to complete payments and transactions in a convenient, safe and rapid manner, he disclosed.
The new credit card powered by VISA is accepted at all local and international merchants and ATM locations.
“Introducing a credit card is en extension of the Singer Finance activities, as Singer has been in consumer finance in Sri Lanka since 1877”he said adding that these cards are being issued through Singer Finance’s 19 regional branches and among Singer Sri Lanka’s customer base and its distribution network of 410 branches.
The new Singer-VISA credit card application can be obtained at any one of the 435 Singer and Singer Finance Branches across the country.
The Singer credit card can be used at merchants who accept credit cards across Sri Lanka and to withdraw cash from ATMs connected to the VISA network.
These cards could be used worldwide at over 14.0 million merchants, as well as to withdraw cash from more than 2 million ATMs in more than 200 counties
Mr. Rupasinghe, said “All customers will get the benefits of Singer Credit Card’s partnerships and promotions with hotel chains, supermarkets, food outlets and all other leading establishments”.
Further he stated that customers would also enjoy unmatchable promotions from Singer showrooms such as Singer Plus, Singer Mega, Singer Homes and Sisil Showrooms with discounts, trade-ins, free give away with 0 percent interest and installment plans up to 24 months. With no additional charges.
He added that Singer credit cards incorporate chip-based technology, which is on par with the best security features in the market.
Singer Finance is aiming at different market segments that were traditionally with SINGER retail channels.
They are our tried and tested hire purchase customer base, he said adding that the new credit card will also serve to empower the masses as a means of conducting transactions.