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Paying a Thai tuk-tuk driver? Just scan the code

Mastercard, Visa, China UnionPay team on QR code payment system

The QR pay system is set for the July-September quarter, just in time to scan for some ice cream.

BANGKOK -- Shoppers here soon will be able to make payments by simply scanning a QR code as Mastercard, Visa and an international unit of China UnionPay partner on a program designed to promote credit card use in emerging economies.

Customers using any of the three companies' cards can scan QR codes with a smartphone or conventional cellphone to enter a payment amount, which the merchant or bank displaying the code confirms via text message. The credit card companies announced the initiative here Tuesday, targeting a launch in the July-September quarter, and plan to expand the system globally in the future.

Merchants can introduce the system at a low cost by printing QR codes on stickers or point-of-purchase displays, with no need for tablets or other specialized equipment. The partners expect small businesses, such as three-wheeled tuk-tuk taxis popular with tourists, to adopt the payment method.

Mastercard and Visa have already announced a comparable service for India. Bringing UnionPay on board, with its many users in China, will help accelerate the spread of the services in Asia.

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