Asia's payments group researching open banking APIs

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Asia's lone payments association has agreed to work with financial innovators to promote the benefits of an API platform that would serve the continent's payments community.

The Emerging Payments Association Asia and the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network will work to further develop the payments industry and advocate for an open banking system through the use of the APIX Platform.

The payments association's Project Open Banking Asia is a 51-country initiative that has been investigating API adoption, regulatory guidelines, the fintech ecosystem and innovation.

The APIX Platform, the flagship product of the financial innovation network, is a global cloud-based platform that enables financial institutions and fintech to discover one another on a curated global marketplace. The goal is for those meetings to result in the collaborative design experiments and deployment of innovative payment solutions at lower costs.

"The ambitious Open Banking Asia project is one example of how EPAA hopes to positively influence change and progress in payments through collaboration," John Ryan, director of general policy and projects at EPAA, said in a Tuesday press release. "Fragmentation due to geographic disparity, inconsistent regulations, and differing standards has long hampered the Asian payments sector."

In that regard, while not a government mandate, Asia's payments effort is akin to PSD2 in Europe in that it is emphasizing more innovation from fintechs, promoting an open banking platform and seeking to lower costs and enhance consumer experience.

The EPAA was founded in 2018 as the only payments association in Asia and has concentrated mostly on bringing payments leaders together at various events to promote payments advocacy and policy development.

As part of its work, the EPAA conducted a Cashless Society study tour in Sweden, gathering information about that country's effort to be the first cashless society in the world, the real-time payments developments, open banking and mobile infrastructure behind the BankID digital identity system used by 97% of the Swedish population between ages 21 and 50.

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