Thai Banks Set to Kickstart Cross-Border Payments in South East Asian Region

February 2020

Thailand is set to kick off cross-border payments in the South East Asian region, in line with its e-payment roadmap for 2020. The roadmap aims to boost digital transactions across ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and enhance integration across the region. According to Siritida Panomwon Na Ayudhya, Assistant Governor for payment systems policy and financial technology at the Bank of Thailand, digital payments between Thailand and Singapore and Cambodia are expected to begin by mid-2020.

Thai banks have been working on regional interoperability for standardized QR code payment that can be used in different counties:

  • In March 2018, Thanachart Bank (TBank) joined hands with Laos’ largest bank by assets, Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public (BCEL), to provide a cross-border QR code payment service for Laotians visiting Thailand.
  • In October 2018, Bank of Ayudhya Plc or Krungsri Bank, together with its parent entity, Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) announced the launch of a cross-border QR code payment system, enabling customers will be able to scan the Thai QR code with any mobile banking application at leading shopping malls and popular stores throughout Japan.
  • In December 2018, Cambodian Commercial Bank (CCB), a subsidiary of Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) and Wing (Cambodia) Limited Specialized Bank, Cambodia’s leading mobile banking services provider  signed a partnership agreement for the collaboration to provide cross-border remittance services from anywhere in the world into Cambodia leveraging on blockchain technology.
  • In April 2019, the central banks of Thailand and Myanmar endorsed the “Krungthai and Shwe Remittance“ project, powered by blockchain based payment company Everex. The joint service allows customers to transfer money anywhere, anytime via smartphones.
  • In November 2019, SCB and Singapore-based Liquid Group announced a strategic partnership to enable cross-border QR payment acceptance in Singapore and Thailand. With the opening of the Singapore – Thailand corridor for QR payments, SCB will be acting as the sponsoring bank for all Thai banking applications that supports cross-border QR payments. Customers will be able to pay for their purchases using their respective Thai QR payment apps at Liquid Group’s participating merchants in Singapore.
  • In January 2020, SCB signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ayeyarwady Bank (AYA Bank), the second largest bank in Myanmar, on collaboration in the development of cross border payments and fund transfer services between the two countries.
  • SCB plans to provide cross-border QR code payment in Cambodia. In the initial stage, the focus will be on Thai and Cambodian individual customers and tourists. The service is likely to be expanded to mall- and medium-sized enterprises, particularly merchants and e-commerce business.

(Sources: Siam Commercial Bank; The Nation; Bangkok Post; MUFG Bank, Ltd.)

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