SINGAPORE (Mar 18): Singtel Group’s VIA, Asia’s first cross-border mobile payment alliance, will be expanding its footprint in Japan by partnering Tokyo-based NETSTARS, a mobile payment technology company.

NETSTARS will join VIA, adding its 100,000 stores to the network’s current 1.6 million merchant partners.

Users of mobile wallets on VIA, including Singtel’s Dash, AIS GLOBAL Pay and soon Kasikornbank’s K Plus and Boost Malaysia will be able to enjoy the familiarity and ease of using their home wallets when making payment at NETSTARS’ merchants, which span airports, shopping malls, food and beverage outlets, tourist attractions and transportation modes across Japan, in the near future.

Through VIA, users can make purchases in their local currency, transact conveniently and securely, and enjoy competitive foreign exchange rates in Japan, and across the networks of all wallet members in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

NETSTARS targets to grow its merchant base to one million stores throughout Japan by end-2020.

Arthur Lang, CEO of Singtel's international group, says, “We are thrilled to partner NETSTARS for VIA’s very first foray into North Asia. Having welcomed Axiata Digital’s Boost Malaysia mobile wallet just weeks ago, VIA’s steady expansion has taken it beyond our associate markets, and now beyond telco e-wallets and Southeast Asia. These partnerships to grow cross-border mobile payments continue to add further momentum to the Singtel Group’s goal of empowering consumers and enabling them to transact seamlessly across borders.”

Tsuyoshi Ri, CEO of NETSTARS, says, “We are delighted to join the VIA alliance and collaborate with Singtel to welcome more mobile payment users from Southeast Asia. Together we will bring convenience to both customers and stores as NETSTARS expands its store network from thousands to millions, moving towards a cashless society in Japan.”