Singapore aiming for regional e-payment linkages
The Government is embarking on a slew of initiatives aimed at connecting Singapore's payment systems with our neighbours, officials said at the Singapore FinTech Festival this week.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will work with the Bank of Thailand to link PayNow with Thailand's PromptPay, announced MAS' managing director Ravi Menon yesterday in his keynote address.
PromptPay is Thailand's own peer-to-peer transfer system.
He said: "The aim is to enable someone in Singapore to send money to someone in Thailand, and vice versa, using just their mobile phone numbers - instantly, securely and at any time of the day."
This pact is one of 16 fintech cooperation agreements with governments and authorities globally that MAS will sign by the end of this week, he said.
At the festival's welcome dinner on Monday, Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung announced that Nets is working with the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) to build cross-border payment linkages.
From the middle of next year, Nets cardholders can make online purchases at any NPCI e-commerce merchant websites in India and make Nets payments at all 2.8 million RuPay point-of-sale terminals in India.
Customers of RuPay, NPCI's Indian payment platform, will also be able to pay at any Nets point here.
He also said that United Overseas Bank and DBS Bank issue UnionPay Cards which can be used at all UnionPay terminals in China.
Cashless payments grew by 27 per cent in China, 23 per cent in India and 20 per cent in Thailand between 2010 and 2015, according to a McKinsey report published in 2012.
Associate Professor Chu Junhong of the National University of Singapore Business School said: "These three countries also have fast-growing mobile and smartphone penetration, providing the basic infrastructure for cashless transactions.
"Given the size of their economies, it will be in Singapore's best interest to increase inter-connectivity."
The move could also benefit business and tourists while merchants can skip the hassle of catering additional cash facilities for tourists, said Mr Chia Tek Yew, head of financial services advisory at KPMG in Singapore.
The three countries contributed 4.5 million visitor arrivals to Singapore last year.
Mr Menon also announced several other initiatives to help Singapore grow as a fintech hub at FinTech Festival, which will see 25,000 attendees this week.
Among these will be a research and development fintech collaboration between MAS and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
MAS will partner the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) to strengthen cyber security in several ways, including establishing guidelines for "red-teaming", or covert penetration tests of a financial institution in a live environment.
MAS will also launch a $27 million grant to support the adoption and up-skilling of workers in the fields of artificial intelligence and data analytics in financial institutions.