Real-time Singapore-India payments link established

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have launched a real-time payments link between Singapore’s PayNow and India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

The cross-border connection enables customers to send or receive funds from bank accounts and e-wallets across the two countries using a mobile phone number, UPI identity or Virtual Payment Address (VPA).

A more secure and streamlined method of transferring funds across borders, the linkage was officiated by Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, with MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon and RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das making the first live cross-border fund transfers from their respective locations.

It is also the first of its kind in the world to use a “scalable cloud-based infrastructure which can accommodate future increases in the volume of remittance traffic” and to “feature a non-bank financial institution as a participant”.

The payments service will be made available to eligible Singapore customers of DBS Bank and Liquid Group through phases beginning with selected customers able to transfer funds of up to SGD $200 per transaction and capped at SGD $500 per day, before this is expanded to the wider customer base and up to SGD $1,000 in transfers by 31 March.

Indian customers of all participating Indian banks will be able to receive funds from when the service launches, but only customers of ICICI Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and State Bank of India will also be able to send funds, before this functionality is eventually extended to all participating institutions.

“The PayNow-UPI linkage is the result of extensive collaboration between MAS, RBI, both countries’ payment system operators, payment scheme owners, and participating banks and non-bank financial institutions,” an announcement from MAS said.

“It is a major milestone in enhancing the infrastructure for cross-border payments and supports India’s G20 Presidency priorities to improve the cost, speed, access and transparency of cross-border payments.”