Emerging Payments Association Asia Signs MOU with ASEAN Financial Innovation Network to Promote API Exchange (APIX)

The Emerging Payments Association Asia (EPAA), the only payments association in Asia, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN) to promote the benefits of the APIX Platform to the payments community, with an aim to further develop the industry.

Signing the MOU with AFIN is part of EPAA’s effort to advocate open banking. EPAA’s Project Open Banking Asia initiative is a 51-country initiative investigating API adoption, regulatory guidelines, the Fintech ecosystem and innovation. EPAA’s research will help formulate policies and standards for the Asian payments sector. Placed on the agenda for the forthcoming Asia-Pacific Financial Forum (APFF) in February 2020, Open Banking Asia is examining the state of open banking through research conducted by members, Ambassadors, and the APFF. The resulting policy paper will outline open banking best practice recommendations, presented to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) finance ministers at APFF 2020.

APIX, the flagship product of AFIN, is a global cloud-based platform that enables financial institutions and fintechs to discover one another on a curated global marketplace, design experiments collaboratively in the sandbox and deploy innovative solutions rapidly at a lower cost. The collaboration with AFIN represents significant value for current and future EPAA members.

John Ryan, Director General of Policy and Projects at EPAA, said “With AFIN onboard, participants—banks, fintechs, paytechs—get access to a safe, cost-effective environment that fosters learning, innovation, and collaboration.”

“AFIN is pleased to welcome the EPAA into our ever-growing community of FinTechs and service providers. Our objective is to promote effective policies and standards in the financial services industry.  The EPAA will help accelerate our value creation for the industry,” said Manish Diwaan, Managing Director of AFIN.

Mr. Ryan continued, “The ambitious EPAA Open Banking Asia project is one example of how EPAA hopes to positively influence change and progress in payments through collaboration. Fragmentation due to geographic disparity, inconsistent regulations, and differing standards has long hampered the Asian payments sector.

“In contrast, EPAA finds strength in numbers by leveraging the knowledge of its Ambassadors—independent experts who support the association—and growing membership to create a cohesive, focused voice for advocacy across the region,” concluded Mr. Ryan.

Emerging Payments Association Asia making significant impact

Founded in 2018, the Emerging Payments Association Asia (EPAA) is the only payments association in Asia and has in the short time since its inception made significant waves in the payments industry. It has hosted more than 30 successful events, connecting nearly 1,000 payments leaders, driving payments’ advocacy and policy development.

One event of note was a Cashless Society study tour to Sweden. The three-day tour looked at how Sweden is leading to be the first cashless society in the world, the status of real time payments and open banking and the architect behind the digital identity, BankID, used by 97% of the Swedish population between 21 – 50 years.

Ms Mary McHale, Business Development Director at EPAA benefactor member Equinix said “Key themes in the payments industry is interoperability and security, areas in which we hold considerable expertise. Equinix is a global interconnection platform that enables the new partnerships that are building secure and resilient routes for connectivity to networks, clouds and each other to deliver a customer payments experience that is instant, open and everywhere.”

Backed by an international advisory board of elected industry leaders, EPAA aims to harness Asia’s rapid payments growth and exciting potential through advocacy and collaboration. The group is an independent chapter of the UK-based Emerging Payments Association (EPA), which launched in 2004 and has more than 180 members around the world. Like EPA, the Asia chapter connects regional professionals and establishes unified, well-informed viewpoints on policies that will improve lives everywhere and encourage innovative thinking.

In Asia’s emerging economies, payments are growing by 32-percent every year. Today one out of every three e-wallet transactions made across the globe occur in China alone, and Asia has more unbanked citizens than anywhere else in the world. In all, the global payments market is estimated to be worth US$2 trillion by 2025.

A wealth of privileges and opportunities

Beyond access to specialized knowledge and insight gained from impactful regional initiatives like Project Open Banking Asia, EPAA members enjoy a wealth of other privileges and opportunities designed to help them contribute to and keep pace with Asia’s fast-paced payments industry. Members are invited to exclusive study tours, networking events, presentations, and round tables attended by peers based around Asia. Online webinars focused on critical payments topics are held periodically, and all members receive a member directory, sponsorship opportunities, and EPAA newsletter that includes project and policy updates, along with members-related news.

Author: Yash Hirani

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