Cross-Border QR Payments Linkage Established by Bank Negara Malaysia and Bank of Thailand

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and the Bank of Thailand (BoT) recently revealed that they’ve introduced a cross-border QR payment linkage between the two countries.

Under this linkage, both consumers and merchants residing in Malaysia and Thailand can make and receive instant, cross-border QR code payments. The initiative that began in June of last year will be carried out in three different stages.

On June 18, 2021, both banks confirmed that first phase was completed. It involved linking the real-time retail payment systems of RPP/DuitNow in Malaysia and PromptPay from Thailand.

Thailand has also entered into a working arrangement with Singapore for launching an interoperable payments system.

As part of the initial phase, consumers in Thailand may use their mobile payment apps to scan DuitNow QR codes in order to make payments to merchants based in Malaysia (including online cross-border digital commerce transactions).

This new service should benefit many users residing in both Southeast Asia based countries when international travel resumes, as customers can easily complete payments with their mobile payment apps instead of relying on cash to settle transactions.

As part of the second phase, customers in Malaysia will have the option of using their mobile payment apps to scan Thai QR codes in order to make payments to merchants based in Thailand. This phase is scheduled to officially launch during Q4 2021.

The final stage of the linkage will be expanded to include remittance payments as well. Users in Malaysia and Thailand can carry out real-time, money transfers seamlessly by referencing the mobile number of the intended recipient. This feature should be introduced during the final quarter of this year

This collaboration between both central banks represents a major milestone in the ASEAN Payment Connectivity project – which supports financial integration in the Southeast Asian region through greater efficiency, lower costs and enhanced user experience for international payments.

The retail payment linkage will aim to serve as a key enabler to support post-COVID economic recovery plans and efforts by strengthening economic ties between participating nations.

Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour, Deputy Governor of BNM, stated:

“The retail payment linkage will enhance the efficiency and convenience of cross-border payments by providing users with faster, cheaper, and more inclusive payment arrangements. This will give more options for consumers and merchants in the cross-border payment space and serve as a key enabler to strengthen regional connectivity and financial integration.”

Ronadol Numnonda, Deputy Governor at the BOT, remarked:

“The BoT recognizes the significance of cross-border payment system linkages and has continuously pursued such initiatives. This connectivity builds on our domestic payment infrastructure which will facilitate cross-border retail payment activities between the two countries during and after the pandemic. More importantly, it will also facilitate the cross-border trade and e-commerce, thus contributing to economic growth and digitalization.”

CIMB Thai Bank and Public Bank Berhad are reportedly the first two banking institutions that have taken part in the new linkage and began providing instant cross-border QR code payment services to clients.

Other payment service providers (PSPs) may soon take part in offering this service, the announcement noted.

This initiative is supported by a collaborative effort involving the Payments Network Malaysia (PayNet) and the National ITMX (NITMX) as payment system operators, along with established banks in the CIMB Group as the settlement banks that handle cross-border transactions carried out through the QR payment linkage between the two Asian countries.

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