The central banks of five major Southeast Asian countries are working to link up their QR code-based payments systems, according to Bloomberg.
Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand are planning to link their respective systems, meaning that people from each country will be able to seamlessly pay for goods and services throughout the region.
Payments will use local-currency settlements between the countries, bypassing the need for US dollar as intermediary.
Indonesia and Thailand have already connected their systems. Users from Indonesia can use their mobile payment apps to scan Thai QR Codes to make payments to merchants all over Thailand. Likewise, users from Thailand are now able to use their mobile payment applications to scan QRIS to pay for goods and services at merchants in Indonesia and also use this service for their cross-border e-commerce transactions.
In the future, the central banks want to link their network to other regional clusters and widen the connectivity to real-time bank transfers and possibly central bank digital currencies.
Speaking at a G20 panel, Monetary Authority of Singapore MD Ravi Menon is quoted by Bloomberg: "It’s a public good infrastructure which improves financial inclusion, enhances efficiency and creates new business opportunities for all citizens."