Asean cross-border digital payment services now cover Thailand and Malaysia.
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and the Bank of Thailand launched a cross-border QR payment linkage yesterday, allowing consumers and merchants in both countries to send and receive payments instantly through a QR code across borders.
The project commenced in June 2020 and is scheduled to take place in three phases. The launch yesterday marked the completion of the first phase and linked real-time retail payment systems of the Retail Payments Platform (RPP)/DuitNow in Malaysia and PromptPay in Thailand.
RPP and PromptPay are fast payment systems that send payments to a recipient's account instantly.
DuitNow QR is Malaysia's national QR solution, allowing merchants to accept payments from customers using participating banks and e-wallet operators via a unified QR code.
Under the first phase, users in Thailand can use their mobile payment applications to scan DuitNow QR codes to make payments to merchants in Malaysia, including online transactions.
This service is expected to benefit users in both countries when international travel resumes, increasing the use of mobile payment apps instead of cash.
In phase two, users in Malaysia can use mobile payment apps to scan Thai QR codes to make payments to merchants in Thailand.
This phase is expected to start in the fourth quarter this year.
The last phase involves include cross-border remittances.
Users in both countries should be able to make real-time fund transfers by referencing the mobile phone number of the recipient. This function is expected by the fourth quarter of 2022.
This collaboration represents a milestone for the Asean Payment Connectivity initiative that promotes financial integration in the region.
A linkage between Thailand's PromptPay and Singapore's PayNow was established for the first time in April this year.
Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour, deputy governor of BNM, said the retail payment linkage will enhance the efficiency and convenience of cross-border payments by providing users with faster, cheaper and more inclusive payment arrangements.
"This linkage gives consumers and merchants more options in the cross-border payment space and serves as a key enabler to strengthen regional connectivity and financial integration," he said.
Ronadol Numnonda, deputy governor of the Bank of Thailand, said the bank recognises the significance of cross-border payment linkages and has continuously pursued such initiatives.
Under the PromptPay and DuitNow link, the Malaysia-based CIMB Group and CIMB Thai (CIMBT) have been appointed as the settlement banks. Financial institutions in Thailand that want to participate can connect their digital payment system with CIMBT.