By Sirivish Toomgum
The Cross-border QR Payment system
“The cross-border QR code is a convenient and secure way to pay, not just in the cardholders’ country of origin but whenever they go overseas. It helps expand the QR payment landscape, which is currently confined to domestic use, by leveraging on an interoperable infrastructure,” says Au Chong Wei - Head of Innovative Product, UnionPay International Southeast Asia.
He added that UnionPay Cross-Border QR payment is interoperable. Consumers can make payment conveniently to 10.8 million merchants that accept UnionPay QR payment, about 300,000 of which are outside Mainland China.
“The acceptance is expanding rapidly beyond the Chinese market to cover 30 countries and regions, including Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and other countries in East Asia, Southeast Asia and Middle East,” Au added.
UnionPay Cross-Border QR solution also provides an after-sales channel for users when it comes to disputes. It can also be implemented with contactless payment solution to allow users to access a combined contactless and QR acceptance network. Most importantly, it allows integration with existing proprietary QR solutions such as PromptPay.
Currently, there are 23 UnionPay enabled e-wallets in 11 markets that can make payment via UnionPay Cross-Border QR code. There are also over 20 e-wallets projects in the pipeline globally.
Au added that Thai consumers who own a smartphone will have greater access to quick, easy, secure and convenient payment solutions within Thailand and abroad via QR Code. They simply need a smartphone to pay at a wide variety of merchants, without having to worry about not having the exact amount of notes and coins to pay for the products and services. They can also enjoy the convenience of not having to carry multiple cards and cash in their wallet.
There are two modes of QR Code Payment: Merchant Presented and Customer Presented.
For Merchant Presented, consumers simply need to either scan the QR Code, and key in amount and pin to complete the payment. This is an initial trend and currently more prevalent in Thailand.
For Customer Presented solution involving the cross border payment, UnionPay is the only card scheme offering this mode in the global market. Consumers can present the generated QR code for the merchant to scan and receive the notification. It is now popular in China, especially among large-scale merchants because merchants have more control, but it comes with higher cost of infrastructure.
The company expects to see more of this Customer Presented in Thailand. Thai cardholders can use this Customer Presented service via Krungthai NEXT application.
Zheng Pingfu, Thailand Country Manager, UnionPay International, said that In Thailand, the company has worked on the implementation of cross-border QR Code payment with Bangkok Bank and Krungthai Bank.
BBL’s BeWallet application supports Merchant Presented solution globally, while Krungthai NEXT supports the Customer Presented solution in Thailand and Mainland China.
The Open-loop Transit Payment system
For the Open-loop Transit Payment system, it allows commuters to pay for transit just as they would for any other purchase made with their UnionPay contactless debit or credit card.
Instead of having to periodically top-up their transit cards in which the stored funds are largely restricted to transit, commuters can arrive in a city from another city or country and travel using their bank issued cards in their wallets, Au said.
“This not only remove the hassle of having to purchase a transit card, but also the hassle of getting a refund when they leave the city,” he added.
Currently, Thai customers with contactless UnionPay cards (i.e. Krungthai Travel UnionPay Debit Card and KTC UnionPay Credit Card) can use their cards to access:
• Buses in about 900 cities/towns in Mainland China
• Underground in 16 major cities in Mainland China
• Kaohsiung Metro (KRTC) in Taiwan
• Aeroexpress Train in Moscow
• KLIA Transit, airport links in Kuala Lumpur
“Besides Mainland China, Taiwan, Russia and Malaysia, we are engaging with related government bodies to implement the Open-loop Transit Payment system in several other key markets, especially those with already enabled contactless transit payment,” Au added.
Zheng said that Thai consumers in general have a positive outlook towards a cashless society. According to findings from The Future of Payments Study conducted by UnionPay International and Nielsen with 400 mobile payment users in Thailand aged between 18 and 65, seven in 10 respondents (71 per cent) would like for the country to go cashless, and six in 10 (61 per cent) are “confident” about living in a completely cashless society.
Coupled with the increasing smartphone penetration in Thailand, there is huge opportunity for payments innovation.
The Bangkok public transportation is also currently undergoing expansion and the city itself is expanding every day. This presents a great opportunity to enhance the system and provide the best commuting experience, including transit payment, to city dwellers.
“We look forward to a closer collaboration with all relevant partners in Thailand including transport providers, merchants, financial institutions and regulatory bodies to bring about more convenient payment solutions to consumers and merchants,” Zheng said.
Au added that as a global payment brand accepted at over 55 million merchants and with over 7.5 billion cards issued worldwide, UnionPay is trusted by consumers and businesses alike.
“We are in a unique position in providing win-win payment services that benefit all stakeholders in the industry,” Au said.