Singapore’s PayNow allowing quick funds transfers

SINGAPORE — From April 29, users of Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay will be able to send up to S$1,000 or THB25,000 daily across the two countries using just a mobile number, as the two real-time payment systems are linked.

In a joint media release, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) said the link would allow customers of participating banks to transfer funds “seamlessly and securely” between accounts in the two countries.

“The transfers will be completed within a matter of minutes, representing a marked improvement over the average of one to two working days needed by most cross-border remittance solutions,” they said.

The MAS and BOT called the link the “first of its kind globally”.

The participating banks in Singapore are currently DBS, UOB and OCBC, while in Thailand, the four participating banks are Bangkok Bank, Kasikornbank, Krung Thai Bank and The Siam Commercial Bank.

These banks have committed to benchmark their fees against the market, said BOT and MAS.

“The fees will be affordably priced and transparently displayed to senders prior to confirming their transfers,” the two central banks said.

“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 link is a key collaboration under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Payment Connectivity that was initiated in 2019, said BOT and MAS.

They noted that the link “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.

The two central banks added that they will “progressively scale” the PayNow-PromptPay link to include more participants and extend the transfer limits to facilitate business transactions.

“The PayNow-PromptPay linkage is only the beginning,” said MAS managing director Ravi Menon.

“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.”

“This initiative is also an important step to connecting payment systems across Asean at scale in the future, enabling more bank customers to send money to their friends and families and to pay for goods and services quickly, simply and safely across borders,” said UOB chief executive officer Wee Ee Cheong, who is the chairman of the Association of Banks in Singapore.

BOT governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput said Thailand had sought to enhance cross-border payment linkages with Asean member states as well as other countries.

He noted that QR cross-border payment connectivity with Japan, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam had already been introduced, with the PayNow-PromptPay link representing 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,” said Dr Sethaput.

“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.” (CNA)