Tuesday, 25 June 2024

OCBC targets quadrupling cross-border QR payments in 2024

5 min read

OCBC, a Singapore bank offering five cross-border QR products, plans to handle 250,000 transactions in 2024, four times more than in 2023.

With QR code payment adoption rising significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic, cross-border QR payments is set to join the ranks of credit and debit cards, which have been the primary travel payment method for decades.

In the last 12 months, the bank has integrated cross-border payment platforms Alipay+, UnionPay International, Thailand’s PromptPay, Malaysia’s DuitNow and Indonesia’s Quick Response Indonesian Standard into the OCBC Digital app. This enables OCBC customers with Singapore bank accounts to make QR payments easily when traveling abroad. In total, these payment networks cover millions of merchants in more than 40 countries.

With no need to exchange cash or download additional e-wallet apps, the number and value of cross-border QR payments on the OCBC Digital app had seen month-on-month growth averaging 65% and 80% respectively last year. Two macroeconomic trends will continue to spur usage: the rapid proliferation of QR code payments in the region, and the anticipated spike in travellers to Mainland China, where QR codes are a mainstay in the payment landscape.

QR code payments are enjoying a recent boom post-pandemic, as they are cheap to set up and accessible. In Southeast Asia alone, the volume of QR code payments is expected to grow over 590% in five years, from 13 billion in 2023 to 90 billion in 2028. Asean governments also committed last year to creating a regional QR cross-border payment network to bolster financial connectivity.

Higher traffic to Mainland China, where QR codes are ubiquitous, will also drive usage. The mutual 30-day visa-free arrangement between Singapore and Mainland China that took effect last month is expected to further increase travel between the two nations. Already, Mainland China was the market where the greatest number of cross-border QR payments – 57% – were made using the OCBC Digital app in 2023. Of note was OCBC’s partnership with Alipay+. In Mainland China, Alipay is used for almost everything, from hailing a taxi to paying for meals to shopping online. Last September, OCBC became the first bank in Singapore to tie up with Alipay+. Since then, there has been a 7-fold increase in cross-border QR payments via the OCBC Digital app.

Besides Mainland China, Thailand (20% of the number of cross-border QR payments) and Malaysia (18%) rounded up the top three markets in which OCBC customers made cross-border QR payments in 2023.

Sunny Quek, head of global consumer financial services, OCBC, said: “Today, we have the most comprehensive app among banks in Singapore with the most cross-border QR payment platforms onboard. The evolution of the payment landscape, coupled with travel becoming the new normal again, has given us confidence that we will be able to grow cross-border QR transaction numbers by four times. Our partnerships with Alipay+ and UnionPay International have significantly expanded coverage for our customers who travel, especially to Mainland China. As more people travel and adopt digital payments, we will continue to look out for strategic partnerships that bring value to our customers and make OCBC Digital the undisputable go-to app for our customers when they travel.”

Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker

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