MUFG, Thai unit to offer QR code payment service in Japan

BANGKOK, NNA - MUFG Bank and its Thai subsidiary, Bank of Ayudhya Public Co., will launch a QR code-based payment service to allow Thai travelers to make cashless purchases in Japan.

According to the Thai lender, it will connect its existing QR code system to Japan in December to accommodate the growing number of visitors from Thailand, allowing users to scan Thai QR codes with any mobile banking applications at major shopping malls and stores.

Bank of Ayudhya, locally known as Krungsri, is Thailand's fifth largest financial group in asset terms. It uses Promptpay, Thailand's standardized QR code payment platform, which is designed to provide enhanced convenience and security for travelers.

The QR code payment platform has prompted Thai consumers to shift to cashless transactions at home, the bank said.

In Japan, users will "instantly know the payment amount in Thai baht at the point of purchase," said Thakon Piyapan, head of Krungsri Consumer Group and the Digital Banking and Innovation Division.

The number of visitors from Thailand, the largest group among Southeast Asian travelers to Japan, more than doubled since 2013 to nearly one million in 2017, aided by Japan's decision to exempt in July 2017 travelers from 68 countries and regions from needing to acquire short-stay visas, data from the Japan National Tourism Organization showed.

MUFG Bank, a unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., took over the Thai bank in 2015 as part of its efforts to expand globally. It owns a 76.8 percent stake.

Japan is lagging behind other advanced economies and its Asian neighbors in introducing cashless payment services.

Cashless payments accounted for 18.4 percent of the country's consumer spending in 2015, compared with 45 percent in the United States and 60 percent in China. QR code-based payment methods such as Alipay and WeChat Pay are now rapidly spreading in China among hundreds of millions of consumers, according to the Japanese government.

To boost convenience in shopping for foreign visitors to Japan, Tokyo drafted a cashless payment plan in April, aiming to more than double the penetration ratio to 40 percent by 2025. (NNA/Kyodo)

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