Eight ASEAN member states have agreed on ASEAN Payment Connectivity that aims to reduce the cost of financial transactions in the region, as regulators, banks, and non-bank operators resolve to integrate and upgrade their financial services.
According to Thai news outlet The Nation, the agreement was reached during a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in the northern Thai city of Chiang Rai. Bank of Thailand (BOT) Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob and Bank of Indonesia (BI) Governor Perry Warjiyo inked the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in the Area of Payment Systems and Financial Innovation.
Veerathai, together with Bank of Laos Governor Sonexay Sitphaxay, also signed an MoU on Cooperation in the Areas of Financial Innovation and Payments Systems, targeting greater collaboration on financial innovations and payment services to develop more efficient and secure domestic and cross-border transactions, as well as promoting the use of local currencies.
The central banks are cooperating to develop interoperable QR Codes for payments and real-time remittance, in order to enable cross-border retail financial services between Thailand and Laos.
The initiative has already been joined by Thanachart Bank, which has partnered with BCEL — the biggest commercial bank with the most market share in electronic banking in Laos — to implement QR payments for Laotian tourists visiting Thailand.
Additionally, the BOT agreed to cooperate on financial connectivity with central banks in Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines.
CIMB Group is among the ASEAN financial institutions currently providing a cross-border money transfer service, with plans to follow up on its SpeedSend by aggressively expanding the market segment this year.
The majority of transactions originating at CIMB Thai presently involve money transfers to the Philippines.
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