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Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay Launch Cross-border Payment System

Olivier Languepin and Abhishek Prakash

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In a global first, Singapore and Thailand have linked their real-time payment systems, PayNow and PromptPay allowing international fund transfers between the two countries within minutes.

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have launched on Thursday a linkage of Thailand’s PromptPay and Singapore’s PayNow, marking the world’s first bridge between national real-time retail payment systems.

This new cross-border integration allows international fund transfers within minutes and could pave the way for a cross-border payments network with other ASEAN countries.

The linkage allows customers of participating banks in Thailand and Singapore to transfer funds of up to THB25,000 or S$1,000 daily across the two countries, using just a mobile number.

There will be no need to populate information fields such as the recipient’s full name and bank account details, as with normal remittance solutions. The funds will flow seamlessly and securely between customers’ accounts in Thailand and Singapore.

Bank of Thailand

It also aims to halve remittance fees and be more upfront about pricing. The Monetary Authority of Singapore aims to have similar partnerships with other ASEAN countries in the months ahead.

The participating banks have committed to benchmark their fees against the market. The fees will be affordably priced and transparently displayed to senders before confirming their transfers.

 The PromptPay-PayNow linkage is a key collaboration under ASEAN Payment Connectivity that was initiated in 2019 and 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 arrangement.

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

The experience will be similar to how domestic PromptPay and PayNow 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.

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