Singtel Group first to interconnect telco mobile wallets for seamless cross-border payments
Commercial launch in Singapore and Thailand in mid-2018
Singapore, 20 March 2018 – The Singtel Group today announced plans to interconnect mobile wallets across different ecosystems through an interoperable platform. As a start, the Group plans to first link the mobile wallets of Singtel and its regional associates, with the first commercial launch between Singtel and AIS. This will be the first time that different mobile wallets across different markets are connected to offer seamless cross-border payments at physical merchants.
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. This will enable the Group's more than 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.
Mr Arthur Lang, CEO of Singtel’s International Group said, "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.
“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,” Mr 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.
Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, CEO of Consumer Singapore, Singtel, said, "Interconnectivity of our Group's mobile wallets elevates mobile payments on Singtel Dash to a whole new level, as it adds to the ubiquity of mobile payments. 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.”
Mobile wallet interconnectivity means that travellers can continue to use their existing home wallet app to make payments when overseas. For example, Singtel Dash users travelling to Thailand need only open the Singtel Dash app to generate a QR code at any participating AIS mPAY merchant to scan. Consumers will see the transaction amount in both foreign and home currencies before payment. This will help travellers avoid the hassle of physically carrying cash and the uncertainty of foreign exchange costs.
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.
Mr Ririek Adriansyah, CEO of Telkomsel, said, “Cross-border mobile wallet interoperability is crucial to the digital economy and will further support our government in promoting financial inclusion for the Indonesian people. Today’s announcement is a significant step in the right direction. 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.”
Singtel’s Open Platform, a group-wide payment gateway, already enables the Group’s mobile customers to make purchases online using direct carrier billing or their respective telco mobile wallets. The introduction of mobile wallet interconnectivity allows mobile customers to enjoy cashless payments at brick-and-mortar retailers when overseas.