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Singtel launches mobile payment alliance for cross-border travel

THE Singtel Group on Tuesday launched VIA, its cross-border mobile payment alliance, with its regional associate AIS and Kasikornbank, Thailand’s largest digital bank.

Singtel and AIS will now offer QR code-based mobile payments through their 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 QR code for payments.

This alliance would allow both telco and non-telco mobile wallets in different markets to be offered on the same platform to consumers, bringing together a region-wide payment network that will enable customers to use their local mobile wallets when travelling, said Singtel. The group will look to expand this in India, the Philippines and Indonesia, through its associates. Collectively, Singtel has a group-wide customer base of more than 700 million.

It is also open to working with China’s Ping An eWallet, owned by Ping An Insurance Group.

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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."

He added that this is 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”.