Local telco Singtel announced plans to interconnect mobile wallets across different ecosystems through an interoperable platform. Travellers can continue to use their existing home wallet app to make payments when overseas.
This will be the first time that different mobile wallets across different markets are connected to offer seamless cross-border payments at physical merchants, according to a press statement released on March 20, 2018.
The initiative will enable more than 590 million Singtel mobile customers to securely and conveniently pay with their mobile wallets when they travel in Asia. In the future, other mobile payment apps will also gain ready access to Singtel's merchant and customer bases across the region.
"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."
In 2017, there were more than 80 million tourist arrivals into Singtel Group's markets in Asia. While smartphone penetration in the region is high, small merchants are still unbanked. Mobile payments hence provide a simple and secure alternative to travellers who might not want the hassle of carrying large amounts of foreign currency with them.
“With our customers' digital lifestyles and the growth in intra-region travel, it is a natural progression for us to take our local mobile wallets regional first, by leveraging the strengths and reach of the Singtel Group in Asia,” Lang added.
The commercial launch of the service is planned for mid-2018 between Singapore and Thailand where Singtel and AIS have obtained regulatory clearance.
Yuen Kuan Moon, CEO of Consumer Singapore, Singtel, said, "With the convenience of connected wallets, Singtel Dash customers will no longer have to carry so much cash when abroad. We look forward to the launch when our well-travelled customers can enjoy shopping and dining with Singtel Dash when they travel to Thailand."
Mr Somchai Lertsutiwong, CEO of AIS, said, “We are excited about launching this cross-border payment capability through AIS. The interconnectivity enhances AIS, offering our customers greater convenience and ease in transacting with their Rabbit Line Pay wallet within my AIS app when they travel to Singapore.”