There are quite a few banking chains in Sri Lanka. The Bank of Ceylon and the Peoples Bank are state owned and more established banks in Sri Lanka. Among others, there are few private banks and some banks of international repute operate in Sri Lanka. Listed below are some banks operating in the country for a long period.
- Bank of Ceylon
- People’s Bank of Sri Lanka
- Commercial Bank of Ceylon
- Hatton National Bank
- Seylan Bank
- Sampath Bank
- Nations Trust Bank
- Standard Chartered Bank
- Citi Bank
It’s important to note that majority of the banking institutions in Sri Lanka strictly operate under the purview of Central Bank of Sri Lanka, which widely regulates the monetary and banking system of the country.
Banking Hours in Sri Lanka
Bank business hours are regulated across Sri Lanka. Most Banks are open for customers from 9:00 a.m. till 3.00 p.m. whilst some even have night bank facilities. But most of the banks are closed all day on Saturday and Sunday and on public and bank holidays.
Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs Use in Sri Lanka
MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted in Sri Lanka. American Express is also often accepted in Sri Lanka. Many banks in major cities have ATM’s (automatic teller machine), enabling people to withdraw Sri Lankan rupees while staying in the country.
Traveller’s Cheques Use in Sri Lanka
There can be a slightly better exchange rate for travellers cheques than the rate of exchange for cash. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take travellers cheques in US Dollars, Pounds Sterling or in Euro.
Sterling travellers cheques for anyone from UK is the best option for Sri Lanka to save money by not having to change into US Dollars as many tour companies and travel agents would like you to do so.
Travellers cheques can be exchanged for Sri Lankan rupees at most hotels and shops and at the foreign exchange offices. Banks and authorized exchanges are the most reliable places to change travellers cheques and generally they provide the best rates; shop around for the lowest commission deals and the shortest queues.
Generally, storekeepers and restaurants will not accept travellers cheques so it is advisable to change a limited amount of money when you arrive at the airport. This is especially important if you arrive in Sri Lanka on a weekend when all the banks are closed. You will not find a problem cashing money in the larger cities and towns, but journeying through more rural areas you will find yourself many miles from a cash machine or bank. Therefore it is advisable to have enough cash for the day.
Sri Lanka Rupee
1LKR = 100 cents.
Notes are in denominations of LKRs 2000, 1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of SLRs10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.