TELECOM & INTERNET | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singtel to link mobile wallets across Asia

Singtel expects the service to launch mid-2018 in 20,000 points in Singapore and Thailand.

Travellers with Singtel’s mobile wallets could soon continue to use their home wallet app to make payments when overseas.

Singtel will link its mobile wallets across different ecosystems through an interoperable platform. It will begin with the mobile wallets of the company and its regional associates through the first commercial launch between Singtel and AIS, it said in an announcement.

“This will be the first time that different mobile wallets across different markets are connected to offer seamless cross-border payments at physical merchants,” Singtel said, “The initiative to expand the Group’s mobile wallet services underscores the continued commitment of Singtel and its regional associates to enhance the mobile payments experience for customers.”

The telco also noted that this will enable its 590 million mobile customers to securely and conveniently pay with their mobile wallets when they travel in Asia. “Other mobile payment apps can, in future, plug into the platform and gain ready access to the Group’s merchant and customer bases across the region,” it added.

Singtel International Group CEO Arthur Lang noted that the mobile payments scene in Asia today is fragmented with many different systems and this poses a challenge to the adoption of mobile payments. “As a Group, we believe we can bring about change through our cross-border interoperable platform and collaboration with like-minded partners. Our vision is to unlock the growth potential of mobile payments in the region by providing customers with a convenient, seamless experience, and helping small merchants widen their reach to millions of consumers."

In 2017, there were more than 80 million tourist arrivals into Singtel Group's markets in Asia. “As many small merchants are still unbanked in this region but smartphone penetration is high, mobile payments provide a simple and secure alternative to travellers who might not want the hassle of carrying large amounts of foreign currency with them,” Singtel said.

“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. This will enable over 1.5 million visitors travelling between Singapore and Thailand each year to use Singtel Dash and my AIS apps at a total of more than 20,000 retail merchant acceptance points in Singapore and Thailand.

The Group plans to progressively expand this 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.

Telkomsel CEO Ririek Adriansyah said, “Once we obtain regulatory clearance, we can provide TCASH customers greater convenience whether they are transacting locally or overseas, and give our local merchants new income opportunities from regional travellers.”  

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