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Payments without borders catching on

Despite the world becoming more connected, there are still significant challenges when it comes to doing business beyond your home market. Different countries have different business practices, legal provisions and financial rules, not to mention cultural norms that need to be respected.

But efforts to break down international barriers for business are being made all the time. This includes the increasing adoption of the concept of ‘payments without borders’.

This approach uses the internet and other electronic channels to lower the overheads of financial transactions, while supporting a global way of doing business.

It reduces the level of fees charged for making financial transactions between different countries – with sometimes no fee at all. It also simplifies the payments process, making it easier and more secure for small businesses to operate in international markets.

There are examples of this concept cropping up all the time. To demonstrate how payments without borders is taking off around the world, here are some recent developments:

Singtel’s cross-border mobile payments alliance

Singapore’s largest telecommunications operator Singtel recently expanded its Via cross-border payments alliance to Japan.

Via is the first cross-border mobile payment alliance in Asia in partnership with Thai mobile operator AIS, Thai digital bank Kasikornbank and mobile wallet provider Boost Malaysia (which is owned by internet company Axiata Digital). It was launched in October 2018.

The expansion to Japan is based on a partnership with Japanese mobile payment technology company Netstars, which has 100,000 stores across Japan. Netstars aims to have one million stores in Japan by the end of 2020.

Customers of the companies in the alliance can use the Via mobile wallet to make instant payments in their local currency conveniently and securely and have access to competitive exchange rates across Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

There are plans to expand the alliance to Singtel’s other mobile operators in India (Airtel), the Philippines (Globe) and Indonesia (Telkomsel). Singtel also has ambitions to expand to non-telco partners such as China’s Ping An eWallet.

Mastercard’s international remittance service

Mastercard and Canadian interbank network Interac have partnered to give Canadians a simple and secure way to send money around the world. Due to its diverse population and number of businesses that operate in an increasingly global marketplace, Canada is a large market for international payments.

The international remittance service uses Mastercard Send, a push-payments service for sending money across international borders, and the Interac e-Transfer platform. This will allow customers to send money from Canada to bank accounts in other countries, starting with Europe.

The service will be piloted among personal banking customers of National Bank. To send funds using the service, customers will log in to their mobile or online banking services.

UnionPay international mobile payments app

Returning to South East Asia, a partnership between payments provider UnionPay and payment app provider NETSPay has paved the way for consumers based in Singapore to make digital payments abroad.

An upgrade to the NETSPay app introduced a new wallet feature enabling consumers to scan and pay for purchases at more than 7.5 million UnionPay QR code merchants around the world.

Users can also make contactless payments using NFC-enabled smartphones at nearly 12 million UnionPay QuickPass contactless acceptance points without the need to use foreign currencies. In addition, users can send or receive money from other NETSPay users via mobile numbers or QR code.

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Payments without borders catching on
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