August 18, 2023
JAKARTA – Bank Indonesia (BI) has launched a trial to connect its QR-based payment system to Singapore’s.
The move follows BI’s agreement with the Singapore Monetary Authority last year to establish a cross-border payment network between the two countries.
Indonesia implemented a similar plan with Thailand in August of last year, followed by Malaysia this May.
The idea is to allow users from either country to use the QR code standard, managed by BI, for payments in either country, thereby doing away with the need to exchange money or carry a credit card.
Indonesia plans to expand its future use of Quick Response Indonesia Standard (QRIS) for regional cooperation with other ASEAN countries.
According to Indonesian Payment System Association (ASPI) chairman Santoso Liem on Thursday, QR payment services have seen an enthusiastic response from users in ASEAN countries.
Dicky Kartikoyono, BI’s head of payment system policy, told reporters on Thursday, more “international diplomacy” is required to foster international cooperation in cross-border payments.
“We’ve been to South Korea, they’ve been here, and China’s the same way. Global forums have also begun discussing the issue,” Dicky said.
This May, BI and the Bank of Korea (BOK) have inked an agreement to establish cooperation on local currency settlement (LCS), which will allow both countries to conduct bilateral transactions in their own currencies instead of using the United States dollar.
The move follows similar agreements with China and Japan.
On the same day, BI also began expanding its popular QR code payment services, with plans to allow users to withdraw cash, make deposits and transfer money, starting Sept. 1.
Previously, the service was named QRIS, and its capability was limited to payments from users to merchants.
BI said the new feature was called QRIS TUNTAS, and it will allow transfers between users, including between both traditional bank accounts and digital wallets.
Users will also be able to deposit and withdraw money using a QR code at ATMs or at registered QRIS TUNTAS agents, BI said.
“QRIS TUNTAS will improve inclusion by expanding digital payments to all communities, especially those in less developed regions,” BI Governor Perry Warjiyo said in a statement on Thursday.
QRIS was introduced by BI in May 2019 with the intention of streamlining the country’s complicated payment procedures amid the rise of touchless payment systems.
QRIS gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, as more small and large businesses in Indonesia registered to receive QRIS payments in order to meet the growing demand for digital payments and limit virus transmission through the exchange of paper currency.
For now, there are only 16 payment services providers that have undergone a trial and are ready to implement the new feature, BI said. Other providers must implement the feature no later than Nov. 30.
According to BI, at least 36 million people in Indonesia have used QRIS as of July 7.