Malaysian central bank Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and Singapore central bank the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have jointly launched the real-time payment systems linkage between Malaysia’s DuitNow and Singapore’s PayNow.

The duo said in a joint statement on Friday that the initiative follows the QR payment linkage announced on March 31 which enabled cross-border QR payments to merchants.

According to the statement, the DuitNow-PayNow linkage enables instant, secure and cost-effective peer to peer (P2P) fund transfers and remittances between the two countries.

This real-time payment systems linkage is also the first to include the participation of non-bank financial institutions from both countries, providing access to a broader group of users.

Consumers of participating financial institutions are now able to send and receive funds of up to MYR 3,000 or SGD 1,000 ($641) daily by using the recipient’s mobile phone number or virtual payment address (VPA).

For users in Malaysia, the service will first be available for all Maybank, CIMB and TNG Digital’s users, with other financial institutions gradually onboarded thereafter.

The service will be made available to Singapore customers of Liquid Group, Maybank Singapore, OCBC and UOB under a phased approach, where these institutions will progressively increase the number of eligible user groups from today until end-January 2024.

This is to support customers’ familiarisation with the service.

According to the statement, the DuitNow-PayNow linkage is an outcome of extensive collaboration among the central banks, payment system operators, scheme owners, and participating financial institutions of both countries.

It is an important milestone in improving the cost, speed, access and transparency of cross-border payments.

The two central banks opined that users from both countries will benefit from the linkage’s cost-effectiveness, inclusivity and accessibility.

They also said it is also aligned with the objectives of the ASEAN Payment Connectivity Initiative and the G20 Roadmap for enhancing cross-border payments.

It is noted that in 2022, P2P and remittance transactions between the two countries stood at 7.8 billion ringgit/$2.3 billion Singapore dollars.

“Cross-border payments that are fast, secure, and cost-efficient can provide immense benefits, especially for individuals and small businesses in countries with very close economic ties such as Malaysia and Singapore,” BNM governor Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour said.

He said the DuitNow-PayNow linkage enables the two countries to reap these benefits towards their shared growth and prosperity, while laying the foundations for scalable cross-border payment networks across and beyond ASEAN.

MAS managing director Ravi Menon also said the PayNow-DuitNow linkage is the culmination of a shared aspiration by Singapore and Malaysia to facilitate cross-border payments between the two countries.

“This linkage represents another step toward ASEAN’s vision for regional payments interconnectivity,” he added.

BIS and central bank partners to explore protocols for embedding policy and regulatory compliance in cross-border transactions