Source: Vientiane Times
Authorities have directed all media outlets to stop carrying advertisements for KIWI Co Ltd’s QR Code payments and services via the Alipay system in Laos as they do not have the required permission from the Bank of the Lao PDR (BOL).
Earlier this month, BOL issued a directive to the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism to advise all media outlets under its supervision to stop advertisements for the company’s QR Code payment services via Alipay.
KIWI Group was established in Vientiane in 2016 by French, Belgian and Lao entrepreneurs. At the end of 2017, ANT Financial, an affiliate of China’s Alibaba Group, chose KIWI as its partner in Laos and deployed the Alipay E-wallet, according to the company’s website.
In May, BOL issued a warning to the public about illegal QR code payment services being offered by banks and financial institutions that have not been granted permission by the central bank.
BOL has announced the approval of two commercial banks and a microfinance institution for providing QR code payment services to customers.
The approved financial institutions are Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public (BCEL-One Pay) and the Lao-Vietnam Joint Venture Bank (LaoViet Bank QR Pay) and New Concept Microfinance Institution (Kapao E-wallet), which has been authorised to run a pilot service.
BOL warned the public not to use any other QR code payment services offered by companies, banks or financial institutions via mobile phone. Consumers were advised to immediately inform BOL about any unauthorised services.
QR code stands for quick response code, which is a square matrix that stores information about products and services, orders and locations.
BCEL was the first commercial bank to launch the OnePay application last year, allowing users to pay anyone, anywhere, directly from their account by simply photographing a QR code.
Earlier this year, the bank entered into a strategic partnership with Thanachart Bank of Thailand to introduce QR code payments in Thailand for the benefit of Lao shoppers.
Lao-Viet Bank officially integrated and put into operation its QR Pay feature on its smart banking application in February.
Customers who register to use LaoVietBank Digital Banking can use the feature to make payments conveniently, safely and quickly at stores that install QR codes.
Besides Laos, Bank Indonesia said that foreign consumer payment applications, like China’s Alipay and WeChat that Chinese tourists reportedly use in Bali, are not approved for local use.
The central bank said the applications did not comply with regulations, in particular because they did not have a cooperation with local payment systems, The Jakarta Post reported.