Fintech: Singapore and Malaysia Launch Cross-Border Payment Linkage

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) have jointly introduced a real-time payment systems linkage connecting Singapore’s PayNow and Malaysia’s DuitNow.

This initiative builds upon the earlier QR payment linkage announced on March 31, 2023, facilitating cross-border QR payments to merchants.

To mark the launch, MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon and BNM Governor Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour executed live cross-border fund transfers at the Singapore FinTech Festival.

The PayNow-DuitNow linkage enables instant, secure, and cost-effective peer-to-peer fund transfers and remittances between the two countries, according to an announcement issued by MAS.

What makes it unique is that it’s the first to include non-bank financial institutions from both nations, expanding access to a wider user base.

Participants include Liquid Group, Maybank Singapore, OCBC, and UOB from Singapore, and CIMB Bank Malaysia Berhad, Malayan Banking Berhad, and TNG Digital Sdn. Bhd. from Malaysia. DBS from Singapore and Hong Leong Bank from Malaysia will join later.

Users can send and receive funds of up to S$1,000 or MYR3,000 daily using the recipient’s mobile phone number or VPA.

The service will roll out gradually, with Singapore customers of Liquid Group, Maybank Singapore, OCBC, and UOB gaining access in phases until end-January 2024.

For Malaysian users, CIMB, Maybank, and TNG Digital users will have immediate outbound service, with inbound service from Singapore to Malaysia starting in December 2023, followed by other financial institutions.

The PayNow-DuitNow linkage results from extensive collaboration among central banks, payment system operators, scheme owners, and participating financial institutions in both countries. It marks a significant milestone in enhancing the cost, speed, access, and transparency of cross-border payments.

It aligns with the goals of the ASEAN Payment Connectivity Initiative and the G20 Roadmap for Enhancing Cross-border Payments. In 2022, P2P and remittance transactions between the two countries totaled S$2.3 billion/MYR7.8 billion.

Menon stated, “The PayNow-DuitNow linkage is the culmination of a shared aspiration by Singapore and Malaysia to facilitate cross-border payments.”

BNM Governor Ghaffour said the PayNow-DuitNow linkage enables both countries to reap these benefits towards their shared growth and prosperity, while laying the foundations for scalable cross-border payment networks across and beyond ASEAN.

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