Singtel Group has announced plans to interconnect mobile wallets across different ecosystems through an interoperable platform for its regional operations, starting with Singtel and Thai cellco AIS.
The new platform will enable visitors travelling between Singapore and Thailand to use Singtel Dash and My AIS apps at more than 20,000 retail merchant acceptance points in Singapore and Thailand. The service will launch commercially in mid-2018. Singtel and AIS have already obtained regulatory clearance for the service.
Mobile wallet interconnectivity means that travelers can continue to use their existing home wallet app to make payments when overseas. For example, Singtel Dash users travelling to Thailand will be able to open the Singtel Dash app to generate a QR code at any participating AIS mPay merchant to scan. Consumers will see the transaction amount in both foreign and home currencies before payment. This will help travelers avoid the hassle of physically carrying cash and the uncertainty of foreign exchange costs.
Other mobile payment apps can, in future, plug into the platform and gain ready access to Singtel Group’s merchant and customer bases across the region. Singtel plans to progressively expand the service from the second half of 2018 to other regional associates, which include Airtel, Globe and Telkomsel, taking into consideration the respective country’s regulations. Singtel’s regional cellco operations cover more than 590 million mobile customers.
“Cross-border mobile wallet interoperability is crucial to the digital economy and will further support our government in promoting financial inclusion for the Indonesian people,” said Telkomsel CEO Ririek Adriansyah. “Once we obtain regulatory clearance, we can provide T-Cash customers greater convenience whether they are transacting locally or overseas, and give our local merchants new income opportunities from regional travelers.”
“The mobile payments scene in Asia today is fragmented with many different systems and this poses a challenge to the adoption of mobile payments,” said Arthur Lang, CEO of Singtel’s International Group. “As a group, we believe we can bring about change through our cross-border interoperable platform and collaboration with like-minded partners.”
A cross-border payments platform will also be a boon for small merchants, Lang added, as many of them in APAC are still unbanked.
Singtel’s Open Platform, a group-wide payment gateway, already enables the Group’s mobile customers to make purchases online using direct carrier billing or their respective telco mobile wallets. The introduction of mobile wallet interconnectivity allows mobile customers to enjoy cashless payments at brick-and-mortar retailers when overseas.