Singapore and Malaysia enhance cross-border payments with QR codes and phone numbers

Rick Steves

“This QR code linkage between Singapore and Malaysia is an important milestone in ASEAN’s journey towards seamless regional payments connectivity.”

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) have launched a cross-border QR code payment linkage between Singapore and Malaysia.

Financial institutions will be able to make retail payments by scanning NETS QR and DuitNow QR codes, which will support in-person payments through the scanning of physical QR codes displayed by merchants, and online cross-border e-commerce transactions.

Participants from Singapore include DBS Bank, OCBC Bank, and UOB. Participants from Malaysia include Ambank Malaysia Berhad, Boost, CIMB Bank Berhad, Hong Leong Bank Berhad, Malayan Banking Berhad, Public Bank Berhad, Razer Merchant Services Sdn. Bhd.,TNG Digital Sdn. Bhd. and United Overseas Bank Malaysia Berhad.

Latest addition to Singapore’s growing set of cross-border payment linkages

Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said: “The NETS- DuitNow QR code payment linkage is the latest addition to Singapore’s growing set of cross-border payment linkages. These linkages will help boost cross-border commerce and enable our merchants, especially small businesses to tap on a wider pool of consumers. This QR code linkage between Singapore and Malaysia is an important milestone in ASEAN’s journey towards seamless regional payments connectivity.”

Tan Sri Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus, Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, said: “This is a significant step forward in realising the vision of an ASEAN network of fast, efficient and interconnected retail payment systems. The QR linkage between Malaysia and Singapore will benefit millions of commuters across the Causeway as well as business and leisure travellers. It will also be a boost to retail businesses in both countries. We will continue to work closely with our partners to accelerate our digitalisation agenda towards increased regional economic and financial integration.”

Real-time fund transfers using phone number by end 2023

The NETS-DuitNow QR code payment linkage allows Singapore and Malaysia to enhance cross-border payments connectivity, providing merchants and consumers with a more seamless and efficient means to make and receive payments.

The improved cost, speed, access, and transparency of cross-border payments between the two countries also goes in line with the ASEAN Payment Connectivity Initiative and the G20 Roadmap for Enhancing Cross-border Payments.

In the next phase, the regulators in Singapore and Malaysia will expand the payment linkage to enable cross-border account-to-account fund transfers and remittances to allow for real-time fund transfers between Singapore and Malaysia using just the recipient’s mobile phone number via PayNow and DuitNow. This service is expected to go live by end-2023.

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