The retail payment link will facilitate cross-border transactions between Thailand and Vietnam using local currencies.
The BOT (Bank of Thailand) and the SBV (State Bank of Vietnam) have jointly launched the first cross-border interoperable QR code payment linkage between Thailand and Vietnam.
The interoperable QR code for retail payment linkage will facilitate cross-border payments, and the use of local currencies between the two countries. The payment linkage is also expected to enhance capital flow between the two countries’ financial markets, and stimulate regional economies.
The cross-border payment project, which launched Friday 26 March, is the result of collaboration between BOT and SBV which began in 2019, with the aim of facilitating bilateral trade, investment and tourism between the two countries.
“This linkage also represents another milestone for the ASEAN Payment Connectivity initiative, which aims to connect the payment services of ASEAN countries using new financial technology to help foster financial integration and sustainable growth in the region,” the central banks said.
In the first phase of the project, tourists from Thailand will be able to make QR payments using their mobile phones to pay for goods and services in Vietnam and vice versa. Tourist flows between the two countries totalled around 1.5 million in 2019.
The two central banks said Thai tourists using Bangkok Bank’s mobile banking app can scan ‘Viet QR Codes’ to pay for goods and services at merchants of Vietnam’s TP Bank and BIDV. Additionally, tourists from Vietnam using TP Bank and Sacombank’s mobile banking app can scan the ‘Thai QR Codes’ of Bangkok Bank merchants in Thailand.
Other banks that have expressed interest to join the project are Vietcombank, as well as Thailand’s Bank of Ayudhya, CIMB Thai Bank, Kasikornbank, Krung Thai Bank, and Siam Commercial Bank.
The BOT and SBV say the cross-border QR payment linkage will result in a safer, more efficient and cost-attractive alternative for retail payment by the public. “It will also serve as a catalyst for many more collaborations on financial innovations in the coming years.”
SBV Deputy Governor Nguyen Kim Anh said the launch marks an important milestone in the collaboration of ASEAN central banks in implementing ASEAN’s initiative on payment connectivity using interoperable QR Codes to deepen regional economic integration and foster digital transformation of each economy.
BOT Deputy Governor Ronadol Numnonda said the pilot project would offer convenience and security for people travelling between the two countries, leading to a more digitalised society.
The project is a collaboration of various Thai and Vietnamese stakeholders under the joint stewardship of the SBV and BOT. The stakeholders include the NAPAS (National Payment Corporation of Vietnam) and the NITMX (National ITMX) as switching operators, while Vietinbank and Bangkok Bank serve as the cross-border settlement banks.
Several financial authorities across APAC have been exploring QR code-based retail payments link between Asian countries. Last year, BOT and NBC (National Bank of Cambodia) jointly announced the launch of a QR code retail payment link between the two Southeast Asian countries.
The central banks of the Philippines and Laos have also launched QR code payment links within their domestic bank network.