Singtel has linked up with credit card company Visa and tech giant Apple to bring its mobile wallet app Dash onto the world stage.
The tie-up announced yesterday will allow iPhone users to pay merchants across the globe from their prepaid Dash wallet through tap-and-go technology.
The collaboration with Apple came alongside Singtel's move to expand its Dash Visa account option - which started in July last year - across the world.
Dash users get a virtual Visa card number, which can be used for Apple Pay and online transactions.
It also allows them to use their phones to make payments at Visa's payWave terminals. They could previously do so only with local merchants, but can now do so globally as well.
The service makes use of what is called near-field communications technology embedded in mobile devices.
Mr Kunal Chatterjee, Visa's country manager for Singapore and Brunei, said in a statement: "Mobile contactless payments have been growing steadily and today, over 70 per cent of all Visa transactions are contactless payments, made either through a physical card or mobile device.
"Dash's Visa virtual account gives all customers, including those without physical credit cards, a safe and secure way to make online or offline payments with our global merchant partners."
Mr Arthur Lang, chief executive of Singtel's international business, noted yesterday: "The game of payments needs to be played on both the domestic and international levels."
Singtel's latest partnerships with Apple Pay and Visa come hot on the heels of other regional investments in the mobile payments area.
In October, ride-hailing firm Grab unveiled prepaid cards backed by Visa rival Mastercard, a move that came just weeks after Singtel's cross-border link between Dash and Thailand's AIS and Kasikornbank went live.
Mr Lang said he understands his firm's partnership with Visa to be "very similar" to the Grab-Mastercard arrangement.
Other e-wallet players in this corner of the world include Indonesian ride-hailing firm Gojek's Go-Pay, media and e-commerce giant Sea Group's AirPay, and DBS PayLah!.
Singtel's recently launched mobile payment alliance, dubbed VIA, was the first step in its plan to connect the mobile wallets of all its regional associates. It has already partnered Indonesian telco Telkomsel and the Philippines' Globe, among others, for remittance services.
Morgan Stanley estimated in July that South-east Asian telcos could see value of as much as US$2.9 billion (S$4 billion) from electronic wallets in 2022.
But a joint report from Google and Singapore investment firm Temasek recently noted that fewer than half of the region's Internet users have adopted digital payment services.
It pointed a finger at the "fragmented landscape of digital payment solutions, which are not compatible with each other and still lack widespread merchant acceptance, online and offline".
Mr Lang said Singtel has not ruled out further expansion into the segment, including possibly offering credit facilities. "We're going to move faster, better and broader," he said. "We've established a very firm foundation in all our products and services, and we're going to scale up as quickly as we can."
Singtel has over half a million registered Dash users in Singapore.