Singtel Group, along with its regional associate AIS, has collaborated with Thailand’s digital bank Kasikornbank to launch cross-border mobile payment alliance, VIA.
The collaboration will allow Singtel and AIS to provide QR code-based mobile payments through mobile wallets such as Singtel Dash, AIS Global Pay and Rabbit Line Pay in Singapore and Thailand.
The QR code can be used at all merchants showing the VIA brand, while more than 1.6 million Kasikornbank merchants will display the Thai QR code.
VIA alliance is said to be the first initiative of its kind, which will help connect both telco and non-telco mobile wallets across borders to establish a region-wide payment network, allowing consumers to use their local mobile wallets while travelling.
Singtel Group will expand the collaboration to include other regional associates, including Airtel in India, Globe in the Philippines, Telkomsel in Indonesia and non-telcos such as China’s Ping An eWallet.
AIS CEO Somchai Lertsutiwong said: “The VIA alliance will promote Thailand’s tourism in the digital era and is in line with the government’s digital economy policy based on Thailand’s 4.0 model.”
VIA offers transparent and secure path for travellers to use their mobile wallets to pay in their home currencies at competitive exchange rates when in Singapore and Thailand.
The service will enable to reduce the burden of carrying foreign currency and incurring cross-border transaction fees.
The adoption of VIA is a cost effective option for the small and mid-sized merchants, who will not accept credit and debit cards.
VIA can also be used by other mobile payment apps to provide instant access to the merchant and customer bases of alliance members across the region. VIA works with TransferTo as a payment platform partner.
Singtel’s International Group CEO Arthur Lang said: “The VIA alliance is aimed at unifying Asia’s fragmented payments scene by connecting different mobile wallet systems across the region.
“As more people travel around the region, we want them to be able to enjoy the ease and familiarity of using their local mobile wallets abroad. VIA will enhance the payment experience for millions of consumers including our Group’s customer base of more than 700 million.”