Latest Laos Mobile Payments Partnership with to Target Chinese Touristby Fintech News Singapore October 21, 2019
Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public (BCEL), one of the biggest state-owned commercial banks in Laos, has partnered with Hong Kong mobile payments services provider Wallyt to allow Lao merchants to accept mobile payments through WeChat Pay and Alipay.
Through the partnership, business customers of BCEL will be able to accept mobile payments through Chinese mobile wallets WeChat Pay and Alipay.
Meanwhile, Chinese tourists will be able to pay conveniently using one of these two popular mobile payments platforms at over 10,000 merchants in Laos, including supermarkets, shopping malls, hotels and tourist attractions.
Chinese visitors, which make up about 11% of visitors to Laos, are the third largest tourist group after Thailand and Vietnam.
The collaboration between BCEL and Wallyt will also see the two companies working together to integrate more mobile payments options to meet the basic requirement of local merchants and users.
Hong Kong-based startup Wallyt specializes in mobile payments, providing several products such as an aggregated payments solution, a digital wallet, and an electronic card system. It claims to serve “hundreds of banks and non-banking financial institutions in over 50 counties and regions” and process over 30 million transactions daily from more than 10 million merchants.
Mobile payments in Laos
BCEL has been amongst the most active banks in Laos when it comes to mobile and digital payments.
Prior to its collaboration with Wallyt, BCEL had partnered with UnionPay International to launch UnionPay QR code service for the first time in the country, enabling local merchants to accept QR code payments.
China’s UnionPay, the world’s biggest card issuer, is the national payment method in Laos with 100% acceptance coverage and an issuance of over one million cards. Eight out of ten local bankcards are of the UnionPay brand.
BCEL also operates its own mobile payments platform, called OnePay, which allows users to pay anyone, anywhere directly from their bank account using QR codes. Additionally, the bank has been developing a branchless banking initiative called BCEL’s Community Money Express (BCOME).
Meanwhile, Kasikorn Thai Bank, in cooperation with Lao Telecommunications Public Company, introduced the QR KBank app in late-2018. The bank hopes to have 120,000 users on the digital wallet this year, up from 1,500 users last year.
Pushing for digital finance
The partnership between BCEL and Wallyt comes at a time when regulators in Laos are looking to promote cashless payments in the country. The country’s central bank, the Bank of the Lao PDR (BOL), has been working on new regulations aimed at boosting digital payments.
BOL has also authorized the establishment of the National Payment Network, a collaboration between seven commercial banks in Laos and Union Pay. The network will enable customers to transfer money from all these seven banks seamlessly.
And PHB Development, a consulting organization from Belgium, has been working with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) over the past four years to develop the Digital Financial Services (DFS) ecosystem in Laos. As of February, 1% of the total population of Laos were regular users of DFS.
Image: Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public (BCEL) partners with Hong Kong mobile payments services provider Wallyt to allow Lao merchants to accept mobile payments through WeChat Pay and Alipay.