SINGAPORE: Singtel on Tuesday (Mar 20) revealed plans to connect its Dash mobile wallet with that of its regional affiliates, starting with Thailand’s AIS from the middle of this year.
This would allow Singtel Dash users to pay for goods and services at popular Thai destinations such as Chatuchak Market, MBK Center and Pratunam when the service is rolled out, Mr Arthur Lang, CEO of Singtel’s International Group, told Channel NewsAsia in a phone interview.
At the same time, AIS users with the equivalent mPAY Wallet will be able to do likewise in retail outlets like 7-Eleven, BreadTalk, NTUC FairPrice and Food Republic when in Singapore, the company said.
There are more than 20,000 retail merchant acceptance points in both countries, it added in a press release on Tuesday.
The Singapore telco plans to progressively expand this service from the second half of 2018 to its other regional associates like India’s Airtel, Indonesia’s Telkomsel and Globe in the Philippines.
“Interconnectivity of our Group’s mobile wallets elevates mobile payments on Singtel Dash to a whole new level as it adds to the ubiquity of mobile payments,” said Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, CEO of Consumer Singapore at Singtel, in a press release.
The push for mobile payments in Singapore has accelerated since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech last August when he highlighted plans to better integrate myriad electronic payment systems as well as have a common QR code.
“STAR ALLIANCE OF TELCO MOBILE WALLETS”
Mr Lang said Dash users will need mobile data or Wi-Fi in order to fire up the app and generate the QR code for payment. While there are no additional charges for paying with Dash, foreign exchange costs will be factored in, he said.
Singtel added that consumers will see the transaction amount in both foreign and home currencies before payment, to help travellers avoid the hassle of physically carrying cash and the uncertainty of foreign exchange costs.
For travellers who do not want to activate roaming services, the executive said it is looking at specific marketing methods to address this, including offering mobile data bundling offers or cashback.
“We are considering various options,” Mr Lang said.
Asked how users can top up the mobile wallet when low on funds while overseas, Mr Lang shared that there are several options, including linking to a credit or debit card and direct carrier billing.
There is also the “papa, mama, good friend” option where users can contact their family and friends to transfer the money needed to their Dash accounts, he quipped.
So how will Singtel differentiate its mobile wallet with competing options such as DBS Bank’s PayLah! or ride-hailing provider Grab’s GrabPay?
Mr Lang pointed out that the organisation has a very strong regional footprint, with its partners mostly leaders in their respective markets, and it is playing to this strength when positioning the regionalisation of its Dash mobile wallet.
In fact, he called the latest announcement the “Star Alliance of telco mobile wallets”, referencing national carrier Singapore Airlines’ global aviation partnership.
“Like in Star Alliance, different airlines (in the programme) will compete in certain markets, but the collaboration brings value to customers overall.”