The Singtel Group this week 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.
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.
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.