Singapore and Thailand launch linkage of real-time payment systems

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The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) have launched the linkage of Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay real-time retail payment systems.

The linkage is the culmination of several years of extensive collaboration between MAS and BOT, both countries’ payment system operators, bankers’ associations, and participating banks.

Customers of participating banks in Singapore and Thailand will be able to transfer funds of up to S$1,000 or THB25,000 daily across the two countries, using just a mobile number. There will be no need to populate information fields such as the recipient’s full name and bank account details, as with normal remittance solutions.

The funds will flow seamlessly and securely between customers’ accounts in Singapore and Thailand. The experience will be similar to how domestic PayNow and PromptPay transfers are made today, in which senders can use their mobile banking or payment applications to initiate fund transfers instantly and securely, at any time of the day.

The transfers will be completed within minutes, representing a marked improvement over the average of 1-2 working days needed by most cross-border remittance solutions.

The participating banks have committed to benchmark their fees against the market. The fees will be affordably priced and transparently displayed to senders prior to confirming their transfers. Senders will also be able to view the applicable foreign exchange charges prior to sending their funds, with these rates benchmarked closely to prevailing market rates.

The PayNow-PromptPay linkage is a key collaboration under ASEAN Payment Connectivity that was initiated in 2019, and closely aligns with efforts by the G20, Financial Stability Board, and other international standard-setting bodies to facilitate faster, cheaper, more inclusive and more transparent cross-border payment arrangements.

MAS and BOT will progressively scale the PayNow-PromptPay linkage to include more participants and extend the transfer limits to facilitate business transactions.

Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS, said, “The PayNow-PromptPay linkage is a pioneering effort. It shows that existing payments infrastructure and the banking system have the potential to provide seamless cross-border payment options to retail customers.

“The PayNow- PromptPay linkage is only the beginning. MAS’ shared objective with BOT is to work with our ASEAN counterparts to expand this bilateral linkage into a network of linked retail payment systems across ASEAN. With the rise of the digital economy, we want to empower individuals and businesses in the region with simple, swift and secure cross-border payments through just a few clicks on their mobile phones.”

Dr Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput, Governor of BOT, said, “With the success of PromptPay, our domestic payment system, we have sought to enhance cross-border linkages with ASEAN and other countries and have launched our QR cross-border payment connectivity with Japan, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam. Today’s PayNow-PromptPay linkage represents another key milestone in our digital payments journey. This service by the MAS and the BOT will effectively address customers’ long standing pain points in the area of cross-border transfers and remittances including long transaction times and high costs.

“Looking forward, the BOT will continue to promote innovation in cross-border payments and infrastructure to strengthen financial integration for the sustained well-being of the country and the ASEAN region.”