The Singtel Group’s VIA, Asia’s first cross-border mobile payment alliance, has expanded its footprint to Japan. NETSTARS, a Tokyo-based mobile payment technology company, will join VIA, adding its 100,000 stores to the network’s current 1.6 million merchant partners.
Users of mobile wallets on VIA, including Singtel’s Dash, AIS GLOBAL Pay and soon Kasikornbank’s K Plus and Boost Malaysia will be able to enjoy the familiarity and ease of using their home wallets when making payment at NETSTARS’ merchants, which span airports, shopping malls, food and beverage outlets, tourist attractions and transportation modes across Japan, in the near future.
Through VIA, they will be able to pay instantly in their local currency, transact conveniently and securely, and enjoy competitive foreign exchange rates in Japan, and across the networks of all wallet members in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. As the VIA alliance continues to grow, wallet members will benefit from the expanding network coverage.
Arthur Lang, CEO of Singtel’s International Group, said, “We are thrilled to partner NETSTARS for VIA’s very first foray into North Asia. Having welcomed Axiata Digital’s Boost Malaysia mobile wallet just weeks ago, VIA’s steady expansion has taken it beyond our associate markets, and now beyond telco e-wallets and Southeast Asia. These partnerships to grow cross-border mobile payments continue to add further momentum to the Singtel Group’s goal of empowering consumers and enabling them to transact seamlessly across borders.”
Tsuyoshi Ri, CEO, NETSTARS, said, “We are delighted to join the VIA alliance and collaborate with Singtel to welcome more mobile payment users from Southeast Asia. Together we will bring convenience to both customers and stores as NETSTARS expands its store network from thousands to millions, moving towards a cashless society in Japan.”
NETSTARS is targeting to grow its merchant base to one million stores throughout Japan by the end of 2020, benefitting visitors to one of the world’s fastest growing travel destinations, which in 2017 received some 1.8 million visitors from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, the countries which feature mobile wallets on VIA’s network.
VIA was launched by the Singtel Group in October 2018 to create a region-wide payment network that will enable consumers to securely and conveniently pay with their mobile wallets when they travel in Asia Pacific. The Singtel Group plans to progressively expand the VIA alliance to include other regional associates Airtel in India, Globe in the Philippines, Telkomsel in Indonesia, working within each country’s regulations, as well as non-telcos.
The Singtel Group will be showcasing its mobile wallets – Singtel Dash, Airtel Payments Bank, AIS GLOBALPay, GCash and LinkAja – at Money20/20 Asia from 19 to 21 March 2019.