Singapore and India to link real-time payment systems

Out-Law News | 17 Sep 2021 | 11:32 am | 1 min. read

Users of Singapore’s PayNow and India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) will be able to transfer money between the countries with the linking of the countries' two real-time payment systems by July 2022.

The linkage will enable users to transfer money from one bank account to another at low cost. Transfers from India to Singapore can be made using a user's mobile phone number, and from Singapore to India by using the UPI virtual payment addresses, according to an announcement by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

MAS said the linkage would allow for increased money transfer traffic, and would be able to adapt to future innovation by linkage participants.

Nicholas Hanna of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint law venture between MPillay and Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: “From a digital payment standpoint, one of the issues still unresolved is ensuring that payments systems can work seamlessly not only in country but across jurisdiction. Singapore and Thailand pioneered this type of digital payment system in May 2021. There is no surprise now that the Merlion nation has established plans in the pipe to link Singapore and India’s real time payment systems by July 2022.”

“This further cements Singapore as one of the most advanced economies in ASEAN that has taken the fintech revolution by storm. Integrating real-time digital payment systems will help operators of such systems, access those which banks can’t or don’t want to reach. These include the underbanked and the unbanked citizens thereby creating a huge market for many follow-on products. Estimated customer base is over 300 million people,” he said.

“Regulators will have to be quick to build robust legislation to protect its citizens and regulate the operators and service providers. Singapore is already streets ahead on that playing field too,” Hanna said.     

In May, MAS and the Bank of Thailand announced that they would link PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay. The linkage is the first its kind in the world and comes after several years of collaboration.