The Bank of Laos (BOL) has issued a statement to the general public regarding the use of electronic QR code payment services that are being offered by financial institutions that have not been given authorization by the BOL.
The public statement stated that the only financial organizations that have been approved to offer QR code payment services to the public are BCEL (Banque Pour Le Commerce Extérieur Lao), Lao-Viet Bank (Lao-Vietnam Joint Venture Bank) and the New Concept Microfinance Institution.
BCEL’s service is called One Pay, the Lao-Viet Bank has QR Pay and New Concept has been given the green light to run a pilot service called Kapao E-wallet. All three banks have begun advertising campaigns throughout the country encouraging citizens to sign-up for these services.
Ad for BCEL OnePay
Ad for Lao-Viet Bank’s QR Pay
Ad for New Concept Microfinance’s Kapao E-Wallet
BCEL was the first commercial bank to launch its OnePay service last year, allowing users to pay anyone, anywhere, directly from their account by simply photographing a QR code from the BCEL OnePay App. BCEL is also expanding into cross-border payments, and has entered into a strategic partnership with Thanachart Bank of Thailand that allows Lao shoppers to use QR code payments in Thailand.
BCEL says that it has 1 million customers, out of a national population of 7 million people and that 200,000 of its customers are now using its mobile banking application.
According to the bank, the number of vendors in Laos registering for the BCEL OnePay QR code system is increasing by 10% a month with transactions also increasing by 10% each month.
The Bank of Laos warned the public not to use any other QR Code payment services offered by companies, banks or financial institutions via mobile phone and that they should report any unauthorized solicitations.
A spokesperson for the Bank of Laos said that the government is open to increasing the options for citizens related to electronic payment systems but that it intends to move forward cautiously to ensure that consumer fraud is minimal and that issues arising from both domestic and cross-border digital payment systems can be monitored and settled in a manner that does not cause disruption the banking system or to citizens.