The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have on Tuesday launched the linkage between Singapore’s PayNow and India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

This will enable customers of participating financial institutions in Singapore and India to send and receive funds between bank accounts or e-wallets across the two countries in real-time, MAS said in a statement.

According to the statement, they can do this using just the mobile phone number, UPI identity, or virtual payment address (VPA).

The linkage provides customers with a safe, simple, and cost-effective way to make cross-border fund transfers.

The launch was officiated by Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.

MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon and RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das executed live cross-border fund transfers to each other from their respective locations in Singapore and India.

The PayNow-UPI linkage is the world’s first real-time payment systems linkage to use a scalable cloud-based infrastructure which can accommodate future increases in the volume of remittance traffic.

It is also the first linkage to feature a non-bank financial institution as a participant.

The service will be made available to Singapore customers of DBS Bank and Liquid Group under a phased approach, where these institutions will progressively increase the number of eligible user groups and transaction limits from today till end-March 2023.

Indian customers of all participating Indian banks will be able to receive funds through the service from the onset.

However, sending of funds is limited to customers of four Indian banks at the time of launch, with this scope to be gradually expanded.

Participating financial institutions have committed to ensuring that the service is cost-efficient and accessible, including to foreign workers and students residing in Singapore and India, enabling them to make and receive low-cost cross border remittances back to and from their home countries.

The linkage also provides for automatic incorporation of capital control rules for enhanced efficiency.

MAS and RBI will review and progressively scale the linkage by increasing the number of participating financial institutions, as well as applicable use cases.

The PayNow-UPI linkage is the result of extensive collaboration between MAS, RBI, both countries’ payment system operators, payment scheme owners, and participating banks and non-bank financial institutions.

It is a major milestone in enhancing the infrastructure for cross-border payments and supports India’s G20 Presidency priorities to improve the cost, speed, access and transparency of cross-border payments.

Central Banks of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand seal cooperation in regional payment connectivity