Asia’s first cross-border mobile payment alliance, Singtel’s VIA, has expanded to Japan, according to a news release.
Merchants at Haneda International Terminal in Japan will now be able to accept QR code payments on the VIA network, and there are plans to add more acceptance points all over the country in the near future. NETSTARS is the network that’s enabling the payments.
The VIA payment alliance connects both telco and non-telco mobile wallets through borders, and in doing so allows customers to use their own local mobile wallets while they travel. Singtel’s Dash and AIS GLOBAL Pay are among the wallets that will let customers coming from Singapore and Thailand explore and shop throughout Japan using QR code payments in their local currency.
The service will eventually expand to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hokkaido, with acceptance at convenience stores, restaurants and shopping centers.
“Japan is one of the most popular destinations for tourists from the region and we’re excited to be expanding VIA here. In Southeast Asia, digital payments are gaining widespread acceptance and fast replacing cash as the preferred transaction mode,” said Arthur Lang, CEO of Singtel’s International Group. “This is a big step in further bridging the digital economies of Japan and Southeast Asia, facilitating travel for our customers and connecting Japanese merchants to more consumers. Our platform allows anyone with a mobile wallet on VIA to pay — in their home currency — at key merchants in Japan. We will be announcing more wallets joining the VIA alliance in the coming months.”
The move to adopt the services before the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games is a deliberate one, as Singtel wants to allow for VIA familiarity before the influx of tourists for the upcoming games.
“With digital payments gaining popularity and more travellers visiting Japan every year, we’re seeing more Japanese merchants show interest in accepting cross-border mobile payments,” said Tsuyoshi Ri, CEO, NETSTARS. “Merchants really appreciate the ease and convenience of digital payments, especially when transacting with overseas customers who may be unfamiliar with local currency. The VIA alliance is the perfect partner for NETSTARS to open our merchants to a much larger consumer base, one that will continue to grow exponentially as the alliance expands.”