Soon, you can scan QR codes to pay for your South-East Asian trip

SOUTH-EAST Asian central banks are targeting to link their payment systems within the year that will let people buy goods and services throughout the region by scanning QR codes.

The linkages aren’t complete yet. Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand are connected, while Singapore is linked to Thailand and is seeking to add more countries.

By November, five of the region’s biggest economies, including the Philippines, are set to sign a deal to integrate their network, Bank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo said in a panel on the sidelines of the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Bali.

Payments made through the system will use local-currency settlements between the countries, meaning payments transacted in Thailand using an Indonesian app would be directly exchanged between rupiah and baht, bypassing the need for US dollar as intermediary.

Next, the central banks will seek to link this network with other regional clusters around the world, and bring the same structure to real-time bank transfers and even central bank digital currencies eventually.

“This can be a deeply impactful move that we can build to the rest of the world,” Monetary Authority of Singapore Managing Director Ravi Menon said at the same panel in Bali. “It’s a public good infrastructure which improves financial inclusion, enhances efficiency and creates new business opportunities for all citizens.” – Bloomberg