Daily Dash: Thailand, Hong Kong Instant Payments Tie-Up Goes Live

December 5, 2023
A new cross-border payments linkage has gone live in Southeast Asia, the Netherlands has published new standards for assessing politically exposed persons (PEPs), and Westpac has restored its systems after a one-day outage.

Thailand, Hong Kong Instant Payments Tie-Up Goes Live

The central banks of Thailand and Hong Kong have announced that a QR code linkage between their respective instant payments systems is now live.

Travellers from Thailand and Hong Kong can now make retail payments by scanning the Thai PromptPay QR Code or the Hong Kong Faster Payment System (FPS) QR code when displayed by merchants.

The central banks said that consumers will benefit from an efficient cross-border payment option and merchants will benefit from instant settlements.

From Hong Kong, there are seven participating banks and two non-bank stored value facilities offering the service, and from Thailand there are three commercial banks

Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput, governor of the Bank of Thailand (BOT), said the collaboration is an “important milestone” and will be rapidly adopted by the 1.5m tourists that travel between the two countries annually.

Dutch Banking Association Publishes New Industry Standard On PEPs

The Dutch Banking Association (NVB) has published new standards on politically exposed persons (PEPs) and source of funds to be implemented by members of the association.

The NVB said the standards will help members come to a clearer understanding of the risks that PEPs pose to their business.

For example, banks will focus less on “unnecessary” in-depth customer research and more on quantifiable risks of PEPs. This will be achieved through updated customer surveys.

The NVB said the new standards are the product of collaboration between the association, the Dutch central bank and the Ministry of Finance.

Westpac Mobile, Online Banking Back Online After Showing Zero Balances

Australia's Westpac bank has announced that its mobile and online banking services have been restored following an outage on Monday (December 4) that left some customers seeing zero balances.

In a statement, Westpac chief information officer Scott Collary said the outage had been caused by a “routine technology update”.

“Our technicians identified the problem and worked through the night to fix it,” he said. “Payments via cards and digital wallets, scheduled payments and ATMs were not affected by the issue.”

Although some customers saw their balance temporarily disappear, others were unable to view or access their Westpac accounts online.

“We recognise this caused disruption for our customers and apologise for the experience,” said Collary. “We know how important it is to have 24/7 access to online banking.”

New Swift Launch Brings Instant Cross-Border Payments To Europe

Swift has announced the launch of a new solution that will allow instant cross-border payments destined for Europe to be processed 24/7, arriving with the beneficiary “in seconds”.

The rails are provided by Swift’s interlinking of domestic instant payment systems, with full transparency and end-to-end tracking from Swift.

Meanwhile, the funds transfer uses the European Payment Council’s (EPC) One-Leg-Out Instant Credit Transfer scheme (OCT Inst), which went live last week.

OCT Inst enables payments to and from Europe to be processed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Interlinking market infrastructures in this way is a key method by which to achieve the G20’s goals for cross-border payments around speed, transparency, cost and access,” said Swift.

Revolut Looks To Offload Auditor As Banking Licence Remains In Limbo

UK neobank Revolut is mulling a change of auditor after doubts were raised about certain items in its 2021 financial statements.

According to the Evening Standard, Revolut may cut ties with BDO, its current auditor, after it questioned the “completeness and occurrence” of £477m of revenue in 2021.

The disputed £477m makes up about three-quarters of Revolut’s total revenue for 2021, and is suspected to be among the reasons that Revolut’s UK banking licence application remains in limbo.

However, sources told the Standard that Revolut will stick with BDO until the end of the 2023 financial year.

New Argentina QR Code Rules Hit By Double Dose Of Delays

The Central Bank of Argentina (BCRA) has confirmed that the implementation of a new rule on interoperable QR code payments will be delayed for a second time.

In a statement, the BCRA said the rule will now come into effect on February 1, 2024.

The move follows a previous extension, covered by Vixio here, which pushed the deadline for compliance from early September into mid-October.

The rule requires merchants who accept credit card payments via QR code must accept payments made using any interoperable digital wallet, regardless of the brand of the QR code.

Acquirers and payment facilitators will also be prohibited from charging merchants different fees or applying different terms based on the brand of wallet used to make a payment.

If an acquirer or payment facilitator also accepts money transfers, they must offer customers a single QR code that covers all payment methods.

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