The Singtel Group has launched its planned cross-border mobile payment alliance with Thai cellco AIS and Kasikornbank, Thailand’s largest digital bank.
Under the alliance, branded ‘Via’, Singtel and AIS will offer QR code-based mobile payments through mobile wallets, Singtel Dash, AIS Global Pay and Rabbit Line Pay across Singapore and Thailand. These can be used at all merchants displaying the Via brand and over 1.6 million Kasikornbank merchants displaying the Thai QR code.
Singtel says the Via alliance is the first initiative of its kind to connect both telco and non-telco mobile wallets across borders to create a region-wide payment network that will enable consumers to use their local mobile wallets when travelling.
Singtel first revealed the cross-border payments platform and its plans to create an alliance around it in March.
The Singtel Group will progressively expand the alliance to include its other regional operators – including Airtel in India, Globe Telecom in the Philippines and Telkomsel in Indonesia, working within each country’s regulations – and non-telcos including China’s Ping An eWallet, owned by Ping An Insurance Group.
Arthur Lang, CEO of Singtel’s International Group said t he VIA alliance is aimed at unifying Asia’s fragmented payments scene by connecting different mobile wallet systems across the region.
“Via will enhance the payment experience for millions of consumers including our group’s customer base of more than 700 million,” Lang said.
Singtel also says that in 2017, there were more than 80 million tourist arrivals across the group’s markets in Asia. Of this, over 1.5 million visitors travelled between Singapore and Thailand and the numbers are expected to grow steadily.