Laos and Brunei Joins ASEAN’s Initiative for Real-Time Cross Border Payments

Laos and Brunei Joins ASEAN’s Initiative for Real-Time Cross Border Payments

by April 4, 2024

The Central Bank of Brunei Darussalam (BDCB) and the Bank of the Lao PDR (BOL) have formally joined the Regional Payment Connectivity (RPC) initiative.

This expansion brings the number of ASEAN central banks involved in the RPC to eight, joining the ranks of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The initiative, which began in late 2022, aims to make cross-border payments faster, more affordable, transparent, and inclusive, leveraging technologies like QR code-based and fast payment modalities to improve payment connectivity across the region.

The RPC’s objective is to enhance the economic benefits of cross-border activities by providing easier access to international markets for small and medium-sized enterprises, simplifying trade processes, and facilitating worker remittance transactions.

The BDCB committed to the initiative on 29th February 2024, by signing the second supplemental pages of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Regional Payment Connectivity (MOU RPC).

Shortly after, the BOL followed suit, signing the third supplemental pages of the MOU RPC on 3rd April 2024, during the 11th ASEAN Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting held in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR.

A report by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Co. predicts explosive growth in ASEAN’s digital payment market, reaching US$2 trillion by 2030.

Rokiah Badar

Hajah Rokiah binti Haji Badar

Hajah Rokiah binti Haji Badar, the Managing Director of BDCB said that the scope and areas of cooperation in the MOU RPC will be beneficial, particularly in advancing cross-border payment connectivity.

This will serve as a means to facilitate further trade, investments, and economic activities within the region and further foster close collaboration with fellow central banks.

Bounleua Xinxayvoravong

Bounleua Xinxayvoravong

Bounleua Xinxayvoravong, the Governor of BOL added that the signing of the MOU RPC is a significant move toward enhancing future ASEAN regional cooperation.

Faster and cheaper financial transactions as well as a secure and seamless payment system infrastructure will support the expansion and sustainability of our economy.

Following this integration, the Bank of Thailand (BOT) and the BOL had unveiled another major stride in regional economic collaboration –  the initiation of the cross-border QR payment linkage between both countries.

Starting from 3 April 2024, Laotian users can employ mobile banking applications of participating banks to scan Thai PromptPay QR codes in Thailand. A reciprocal arrangement will commence by the end of June 2024, allowing Thai users to scan LAO QR codes in Laos.

This initiative has been supported by a wide array of stakeholders from both countries, including the National ITMX (NITMX) and Lao National Payment Network (LAPNet) as the instant payment system operators, and Kasikornbank (KBank) and Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao (BCEL) as settlement banks.

The service will initially be available through mobile payment applications of two Thai and six Laotian commercial banks, with a comprehensive list provided here and an anticipation of more providers joining soon to expand the network of users and merchants.