Sin­ga­pore aim­ing for re­gional e-pay­ment link­ages

The New Paper - - NEWS - YUNITA ONG

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.

NETS-NPCI TIE-UP

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 cross­bor­der 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.

yu­ni­taso@sph.com.sg

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