Singapore and India Debut Cross-Border Payment Link – PYMNTS.com

India and Singapore have linked their real-time payment systems to simplify cross-border remittances.
The two countries’ central banks announced the linkage Tuesday (Feb. 21), saying it lets consumers send and receive funds between bank accounts and eWallets in real-time using India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Singapore’s PayNow network.
“The linkage provides customers with a safe, simple, and cost-effective way to make cross-border fund transfers,” the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said.
Payments can be made via mobile phone, UPI identity or virtual payment address (VPA), the announcement said.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the link is notable for a few reasons. It is India’s first time linking to another country’s payment network. (It is Singapore’s second such partnership; the country is already linked to Thailand’s PromptPay.)
It’s also the first to use cloud-based infrastructure, and the first to include participation from non-bank financial institutions.
“As we progressively add more users and use cases, the PayNow-UPI linkage will grow in utility, and contribute more to facilitating our trade and our people-to-people links,” said Loong.
The partnership comes a little more than a month after the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) began widening access to UPI to non-resident Indians in several countries, including Singapore, along with the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K.
“There has been customer demand in the ecosystem to enable UPI for their [non-resident] accounts …[to] experience the seamless and instant journey of UPI,” the NPCI said in a news release in January.
That report also noted the impending launch of the Singapore/India link-up, with bank officials in the two countries saying the interoperability will have some immediate effect, with the direct interactions expected to lower remittance costs by 10%.
Singapore, meanwhile, holds the title of the most engaged nation in PYMNTS’ ConnectedEconomy™ Index, as reported here last week.
That report also points out that the country’s “tech sector is heavily focusing on cross-border payments innovation, both singly and in partnerships.”
For example, China’s Ant Group introduced ANEXT bank to Singapore last June after receiving one of the first banking licenses issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the nation’s central bank.
Representing Ant Group’s largest overseas expansion so far, ANEXT is chiefly focused on serving small and medium-sized enterprises, PYMNTS wrote, particularly those focused on cross-border payments.
And in January, payments firm Fiserv got the go-ahead from the MAS to expand its offerings in Singapore. The approval lets Fiserv provide cross-border money transfer services and real-time account transfers, while also permitting the company to continue offering merchant acquiring services in Singapore.
PYMNTS Data: Why Consumers Are Trying Digital Wallets
A PYMNTS study, “New Payments Options: Why Consumers Are Trying Digital Wallets” finds that 52% of US consumers tried out a new payment method in 2022, with many choosing to give digital wallets a try for the first time.
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