Singapore, Thailand Launch Real-time Payment Link

The participating banks include DBS, OCBC, UOB, Bangkok Bank, Kasikornbank, Krung Thai Bank and Siam Commercial Bank.

MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) and BOT (Bank of Thailand) today linked Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay, establishing a real-time retail payment channel between the two countries.

The linkage is described as “the first of its kind globally”, and represents the culmination of several years of extensive collaboration between MAS and BOT, as well as Singapore and Thailand’s payment system operators (NETS Group, National ITMX Company), bankers’ associations, and participating banks.

MAS managing director Ravi Menon announced at last year’s Singapore Fintech Festival that the cross-border payment link would go live by mid-2021. The initiative was a key collaboration under ASEAN Payment Connectivity that was initiated in 2019.

Through the link, customers of participating banks in Singapore and Thailand will be able to transfer funds of up to SGD 1,000 or THB 25,000 daily across the two countries, using a mobile number, without the need to populate information fields such as recipient name and bank account details.

“The funds will flow seamlessly and securely between customers’ accounts in Singapore and Thailand,” says a joint statement. “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 a matter of 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 so that they are affordably priced and transparently displayed to senders prior to confirming their transfers.

Senders will also be able to view the applicable FX charges prior to sending their funds. The rates will be closely benchmarked to prevailing market rates.

Singapore’s participating banks include DBS, OCBC and UOB. Thailand’s participating banks include Bangkok Bank, Kasikornbank, Krung Thai Bank and Siam Commercial Bank.

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

“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 BOT Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput.

“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.”

BOT has launched QR cross-border payment connectivity with Japan in 2018, Lao PDR in 2019, Cambodia in 2020 and Vietnam in 2021. Linkages with other countries will follow “soon”.

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