The Bank of the Lao PDR (BoL) had a soft launch of the Lao QR Code standard for payments on Wednesday to prompt the development of the standard and boost payment integration.
The launch for the Lao QR Code standard for payments was held in Vientiane alongside a panel discussion on domestic payment systems.
BoL governor Sonexay Sithphaxay, along with representatives of commercial banks, financial institutions, Fintech, World Bank Group, UnionPay and the Bank of Thailand (BoT) attended the event.
The launch has been hailed as a major achievement in the banking sector, especially for the BoL. It will lead to faster and safer services in payments and integration with other banks.
Prior to the official launch, BoL Payment Systems Department director-general Soulysak Thamnuvong dwelled on the finer points of the Lao QR Code standardisation and outlined the department’s role in payment management.
He said the department was established in 2018 to focus on payment management and to ensure the system is compliant with the regulations and legal processes.
“For instance, the department under the BoL will not only focus on payment management but will cooperate with the World Bank Group to develop and modernise the banking system. This is a priority along with the active implementation of the banking policy,” he said.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Sonexay said the utilisation of the QR code standard would comply with the finance and currency sector’s strategic plan and minimise the use of cash, driving the onset of a digital economy and boosting socio-economic development.
“The launch of the Lao QR code standard will encourage other banks in Laos to speed up QR code development so that they are integrated,” he said.
He explained that if banks did not develop their systems, they would not be able to attract customers.
Along with the launch of the Lao QR code standard, an intensive panel discussion on local payment systems was arranged with the participation of several experienced banking specialists from Laos, the World Bank Group and the BoT, and other foreign speakers.
“We also are taking into consideration the positives that may come out of the negative impacts. This panel discussion will enable us to know the risks involved and how to minimise security issues in using the digital system,” Sonexay added.
The use of QR codes for payments, services and transactions has been widely adopted in Laos, but is not well integrated with other domestic and international systems.
The Lao QR Code standard has five purposes – peer-to-peer transfer, payments for products and other domestic and international services with coverage for general stores and e-commerce, future tax payments for the government, e-donations and future payment innovation.
VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK