Bangkok Bank (BBL) plans to start offering cross-border payments via standardised QR code in Japan later this month and aims to extend digital payment service across Asean in the next phase.
With the service, users would be charged lower fees for foreign currency exchange than credit cards or cash, and it is convenient, said executive vice-president Prassanee Ouiyamaphan.
Japan is the top destination for Thai travellers, so the bank chose the country to roll out the cross-border QR code payment service, she said.
Bank of Ayudhya (BAY), the country's fifth-largest bank by assets, cooperated with its Japanese major shareholder, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, to launch a cross-border QR code system, enabling BAY customers to scan a QR code with any banking app at leading shopping malls and popular stores throughout Japan, beginning in December 2018.
Mrs Prassanee said BBL plans to extend the cross-border QR code payment service in Asean countries where it has business operations, but she would not give a time frame or name the next target country for the service.
BBL is positioning itself as a regional bank with a presence in eight other Asean countries: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.
In other news, Mrs Prassanee said the bank plans to add more features to its mobile banking app, Bualuang mBanking, in the near future.
"Customers will be able to open deposit accounts via mobile banking though electronic know-your-customer [e-KYC] authentication technology in the early third quarter," she said. "We hope this increases both mobile banking users and transactions."
BBL and several other banks are testing out e-KYC in the Bank of Thailand's regulatory sandbox.
The bank expects to double mobile banking transaction numbers this year from last year and aims to increase users to 10 million by year-end from 7 million now.
Digital transaction numbers have shown aggressive growth over the past few years, and fund transfers through the online channel represent the largest portion at 80% of total fund transfer transactions from all channels.
Basic financial transactions at the bank's brick-and-mortar branches have declined by 10% over the past three years. ATM transactions, particularly money withdrawals, have dipped by 3-4% in the same period and could decline by 10% this year.
Mrs Prassanee said the bank plans to maintain the current number of its traditional branches at 1,160 through the end of the year by using a relocation strategy.
BBL will open new physical branches in strategic locations, particular in community malls, to serve both retail and SME customers.