By: Shubham Ghosh
In what is a first-of-its-kind collaboration with another country, India and Singapore on Tuesday (21) linked their respective online payments systems — Unified Payments Interface (UPI) of India and PayNow of Singapore — for seamless cross-border transactions between the two countries.
The virtual launch function was attended by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong.
The linkage of these two payment systems of both countries would enable residents of both countries to the faster and more cost-efficient transfer of cross-border remittances. People in both the countries will be able to send money real-time via QR-code based or simply by entering mobile numbers linked to the bank account.
“The linking of fintech services between India and Singapore will take the technology to a new level,” PM Modi said at the launch event.
“It will provide low-cost real-time platform for remittance transfers to people in both countries,” Modi said.
Shaktikanta Das, governor, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s apex financial authority, also presided over the launch event.
India has emerged as one of the fastest-growing ecosystems for fintech innovation and the PM Modi-led government has been instrumental in driving the globalisation of India’s digital payment infrastructure.
A key emphasis of PM Modi has been on ensuring that the benefits of UPI are not limited to India only, but other countries, too, benefit from it.
This collaboration will also help the Indian diaspora in Singapore, especially migrant workers and students through instantaneous and low-cost transfer of money from Singapore to India and vice-versa.
Separately, taking into account the popularity of the UPI payment system, the Reserve Bank of India proposed to permit all inbound travellers to India to use UPI for their merchant payments while they are in the country.
UPI payments system has become hugely popular for retail digital payments in India, and its adoption is increasing at a rapid pace.
On February 8, the RBI governor made the announcement while deliberating upon the outcome of the three-day monetary policy committee meeting.
To begin with, the facility will be extended to travellers from G-20 countries arriving at “select international airports”.