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May 4, 2023

Singapore links digital payments with Malaysia and India

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May 4, 2023

In April 2023, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) establish a cross-border payment link. The link is expected to go live by the end of 2023 and it will allow real-time digital fund transfers between the QR code of Singapore’s Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS) and/or the QR code of the Malaysian financial institution DuitNow. With pre-pandemic annual traffic between the two countries averaging 12 million visitors, MAS and BNM have already planned to expand the linkage to enable cross-border account-to-account fund transfers and remittances.

MAS managing director, Ravi Menon, comments: “These linkages will help boost cross-border commerce and enable our merchants, especially small businesses to tap on a wider pool of consumers.” This link was started after Singapore’s similar initiative with Thailand in 2021. MAS and Bank Indonesia have also commenced work on a cross-border QR payment linkage a year later, as part of the ASEAN-wide payments connectivity effort.

Beyond the ASEAN region, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India, have linked a cross-border digital payment system between the two countries in February 2023. Singapore’s PayNow digital payments infrastructure and India’s Unified Payments Interface now offer cheaper, faster, and safer cross-border retail payments and remittances, for both businesses and individuals. In the initial phase, only selected customers of DBS could access this payment linkage. The selected customers were only able to use the digital line to transfer funds of up to USD 149 each time and up to USD 370 per day. On the Indian side, customers of ICICI Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, and the State Bank of India are the first group that can use this linkage.

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