OCBC Bank, Singapore's second-largest bank, has joined Singtel's regional payment alliance in a move that by March next year will allow its customers to scan and pay for purchases in Thailand and Japan.
The partnership under the VIA alliance will see customers of the bank offered competitive rates when making purchases overseas, OCBC and Singtel said yesterday, adding that they will also explore linking their rewards and merchant programmes.
OCBC is the latest company Singtel has successfully wooed to join its year-old VIA initiative, as Singapore's largest telco seeks to grow its business in new areas amid an increasingly crowded telecommunications market.
Singtel has an e-wallet called Dash as well as a partnership with gaming product company Razer to unify cashless payment in South-east Asia. Dash is also a part of VIA.
From next year, OCBC customers need only scan the QR code at VIA merchants in Thailand and Japan with the Pay Anyone app to make purchases with funds from their bank accounts.
From next month, those who use the Dash wallet can top it up more efficiently, without having to go through a payment gateway.
Singtel International chief executive officer Arthur Lang said VIA merchants in Japan and Thailand will have more customers as a result of the tie-up.
At least 1.6 million stores in Thailand and 100,000 shops in Japan accept VIA, according to previous reports.
These include shops at Haneda Airport in Japan and several shops in Central World shopping mall in Thailand, including bag retailer Naraya.
OCBC chief operating officer Ching Wei Hong said that with the tie-up, the bank's customers can use its Pay Anyone app to pay for purchases overseas without incurring hefty foreign exchange rates. They can top up their Dash wallets directly with OCBC Pay Anyone too, he said.