Welcome to The Axis, your late look at payments news from around the world. Coverage includes Western Union's rollout of an international money transfer service in Thailand. Remittances out of U.A.E. are on the rise with the take-off of digital transfers; Fortumo and Elisa have rolled out direct carrier billing on Google Pay in Finland; and Indonesia’s central bank has rolled out a standard quick-response (QR) code for cashless payments.
In Thailand, Western Union has rolled out an international money transfer service that users can tap into through a transactional website or mobile app, according to reports. In addition, users can decide to make payments at retail locations after starting a transaction through the web or via an app. The company teamed with Central Department Store for the rollout, and is reportedly Western Union’s first agent in the country. Western Union Digital SVP and General Manager Khalid Fellahi said, according to reports, “The ability to smoothly and fluidly transfer money internationally by the latest digital means elevates our relevance to our customers across the world. We use cutting-edge technology to simplify money transfer.”
And in the UAE, remittances out of the country are on the rise with the take-off of digital transfers, The National reported. Outward personal remittances were Dh169.2 billion in 2018, which marked a rise of 3 percent compared to the year prior. While money sent through banks fell, money sent home via exchange houses increased. India comprised 38.1 percent of the total outflow, which the report noted had “the highest share by far.” Other top countries that received remittances from the country included Pakistan, the Philippines, Egypt, the U.S. and the U.K. The UAE is said to serve as the second largest country for outward remittances, only behind the U.S.
In Finland, Fortumo and Elisa have rolled out direct carrier billing on Google Pay for more than two million subscribers of Elisa, according to reports. Customers will be able to charge purchases to their phone bills to pay for app store content. The offering comes as carrier billing is one of the preferred payment options in the country for digital content, even though most Finns have credit cards. SuperData Research notes that carrier billing has a market share of 16.2 percent in digital gaming transactions in Finland. The two companies have reportedly been working in conjunction in Estonia since 2017.
In other payments news from Asia, Indonesia’s central bank has rolled out a standard quick-response (QR) code for cashless payments, according to reports. Through the Quick Response Indonesia Standard (QRIS) code, users can conduct fund transfers between local payment services. Bank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo said, according to reports, "QRIS allows QR code-facilitated payments [in Indonesia] to be interconnected and interoperable through a single standardized code.” Bank Indonesia teamed with banks and financial institutions, among others, to develop the new code.