February 24, 2024

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Cross-border QR Payments Connect Singapore-Malaysia

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) have just set up a way for people in Singapore and Malaysia to pay with QR codes. With this payment linkage, customers of financial institutions that are taking part will be able to scan NETS QR and DuitNow QR codes to make retail payments. It will let people pay in person by scanning QR codes that stores put up, and it will also let people buy things online from other countries.

The NETS-DuitNow QR code payment linkage is a big step forward in the work that Singapore and Malaysia are doing together to improve cross-border payments. The average annual traffic between the two countries before the pandemic was about 12 million people. The payment linkage will make it easier for merchants and customers to send and receive payments.

This project shows that both countries want to improve the cost, speed, access, and transparency of cross-border payments, which is in line with the ASEAN Payment Connectivity Initiative and the G20 Roadmap for Enhancing Cross-border Payments.

The strong collaboration of various industry players from both countries, including Network for Electronic Transfers (Singapore) Pte. Ltd (NETS), the Association of Banks in Singapore, Payments Network Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. (PayNet), and participating financial institutions from both countries have enabled this cross-border QR code payment linkage.

MAS and BNM intend to expand the payment linkage in the following phase to enable cross-border account-to-account fund transfers and remittances. Users will be able to make real-time fund transfers between Singapore and Malaysia using only the recipient’s mobile phone number through PayNow and DuitNow. This service is expected to be operational by the end of 2023.

The NETSDuitNow QR code payment linkage is the latest addition to Singapore’s growing set of cross-border payment linkages, according to Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

He added that these connections will boost cross-border commerce and enable merchants, particularly small businesses, to reach a larger consumer base. This QR code link between Singapore and Malaysia is a significant step forward in ASEAN’s journey towards seamless regional payments connectivity.

Tan Sri Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus, Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, stated that this is a significant step towards realising the vision of an ASEAN network of fast, efficient, and interconnected retail payment systems.

Millions of commuters across the Causeway, as well as business and leisure travellers, will benefit from the QR link between Malaysia and Singapore. It will also benefit both countries’ retail businesses. He also stated that they will continue to collaborate closely with their partners to accelerate the digitalisation agenda and achieve greater regional economic and financial integration.

The entire purpose of cross-border payments is to assist merchants in adapting their global commerce strategy to local markets; by offering payment options familiar to consumers in different regions, merchants can both enhance the customer experience and capitalise on new revenue streams.

Some of the benefits include the ability for merchants to present customers with a selection of popular regional payment methods, allowing for a more personalised customer experience.

Additionally, most cross-border payment platforms are mobile-enabled, allowing merchants to pay invoices for suppliers from any device and location; intelligent scheduling enables merchants to schedule invoice payments. These capabilities enable merchants to expand their supplier and affiliate bases on a global scale, in addition to their customer base.

Likewise, cross-border payment systems process domestic and international money transfers on a single platform, increasing the efficiency and transparency of accounts payable. As a result, cross-border payments give merchants more flexibility in customising authentication and fraud rules through configurable workflows and risk management options.


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