Singtel and AIS debut VIA, Asia’s first cross-border mobile payment alliance
By Digital News Asia October 4, 2018
- Drives cross-border mobile payments to strengthen digital economies in Southeast Asia
- First initiative of its kind to connect both telco and non-telco mobile wallets across borders
THE Singtel Group launched VIA, its cross-border mobile payment alliance, with its regional associate AIS and Kasikornbank, Thailand’s largest digital bank.
Singtel, AIS will now offer QR code-based mobile payments through mobile wallets, Singtel Dash, AIS Global Pay and Rabbit Line Pay, across both 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.
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.
The Singtel Group will progressively expand this alliance to include other regional associates Airtel in India, Globe in the Philippines, 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, "This is a game changer for the Singtel Group and the region. 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. We see a tremendous opportunity to drive the adoption of mobile payments which supports Asean’s push towards financial inclusion and vision of a single digital market.”
In 2017, there were more than 80 million tourist arrivals across the Singtel 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.
Somchai Lertsutiwong, CEO of AIS said, “AIS is collaborating with Singtel and Kasikornbank to proactively drive the cashless society forward. We place great importance on the continued development of services to meet the growing demand for mobile payments. This partnership offers Thais a seamless digital payment experience at home and abroad, and adds a new dimension which will take the cashless society to the next level.
“AIS would like to thank all strategic partners and business operators who realise the importance of a cashless society for uniting to create the VIA service. Led by Kasikornbank, Central Group and a wide range of shops from famous brands to medium and small stores, more than 1.6 million participating merchants nationwide are ready to welcome Singaporeans visiting Thailand. 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.”
Yuen Kuan Moon, CEO, Consumer Singapore, Singtel, said, “We are extremely excited to give Dash customers the ability to use their wallets in Thailand and soon, even more countries in the region. Now, our customers not only stay connected with our mobile roaming service when overseas, they also have a roaming wallet which they can use to make purchases while abroad.
“The best thing is – with VIA, they don’t need to change the way they use Dash at home or abroad. We will continue to forge strategic partnerships and innovate the Dash wallet to make it the most inclusive all-in-one mobile wallet for our customers.”
VIA provides a transparent, seamless and secure way for travellers to use their mobile wallets to pay in their home currencies at competitive exchange rates when in Singapore and Thailand. This frees them from the hassle of carrying foreign currency and incurring cross-border transaction fees.
For small and mid-sized merchants, who may not accept credit and debit cards, adopting VIA can be more cost-effective, and can also expand their customer base.
VIA is open to other mobile payment apps which will gain instant access to the merchant and customer bases of alliance members across the region. VIA works with TransferTo as a payment platform partner.
Have local wallets, will travel
With over half a million registered users, Singtel Dash is the only all-in-one mobile payments solution in Singapore that allows users to commute, shop and send money locally and overseas. It is available to everyone, regardless of telco or banking relationship or device model.
When in Thailand, customers can use Singtel Dash for entertainment, purchasing food and beverage and goods at shops displaying the VIA logo and Thai QR code. This includes popular shopping malls such as CentralWorld, Chatuchak Weekend Market, MBK Center, and JJ Mall, and a wide range of shops from famous local brands to small and mid-sized stores.
To make purchases, customers can simply scan the merchant’s QR code or let merchants scan their unique QR code in the Dash app.
The VIA service is accessible to more than 42 million LINE chat users in Thailand. Among them are over five million Rabbit LINE Pay users who just need to download AIS Global Pay to use the e-wallet feature on Rabbit LINE Pay when in Singapore. Customers can pay for taxi rides, services or dining at thousands of merchant points, including Comfort Delgro, Singapore’s largest taxi company, KFC, Pizza Hut, Breadtalk and 7-Eleven.
To celebrate the launch of the service between Singapore and Thailand, Singtel Dash is offering a slew of perks that include a 10% cashback on all Singtel Dash payments made in Thailand and S$5 for 1GB of data roaming in Thailand for Singtel customers. AIS Global Pay is offering a THB100 real-time cashback for Rabbit Line Pay users on their first purchase of more than THB100 in Singapore.
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