Singapore Businesses Eye Growth with Cross-Border Payment

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Amidst a rise in visitor numbers to Singapore post-pandemic, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) anticipates an increase in cross-border payment transactions, offering convenience for both consumers and businesses alike.

MAS reports significant growth in the use of cross-border payment links, enabling QR code payments and PayNow transfers to various countries. This development eliminates the need for travellers to visit money changers or activate credit cards before their trips, streamlining payment processes.

For instance, payments to Thailand via the PayNow-PromptPay linkage have quadrupled since its launch three years ago. Singapore currently maintains person-to-person and person-to-merchant payment links with countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and India.

Businesses are embracing these payment linkages to mitigate rising costs and maintain competitiveness. Koufu, a prominent food and beverage firm, has witnessed a five-fold increase in cross-border payments using NETS QR codes, particularly from tourists from China and Malaysia. The use of QR code payments helps tourists save on foreign exchange fees, contributing to a seamless transaction experience.

Despite the benefits, scaling up cross-border payment systems poses challenges, including technical compatibility between payment systems and adherence to regulatory requirements. However, MAS remains committed to expanding Singapore’s payment offerings, collaborating with the BIS Innovation Hub Centre to facilitate faster, cheaper, and more accessible cross-border transfers.

Direct payment links between Singapore and India, facilitated by PayNow and India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI), have notably benefited organisations like the Singapore Indian Association. The ability to make instant payments has transformed supply chain dynamics, particularly for micro and small business owners in India’s smaller towns.

As businesses and consumers increasingly embrace digital payment solutions, the evolution of cross-border payment ecosystems holds immense potential for facilitating seamless transactions and driving economic growth across regions.