Singapore and Thailand strike agreement over mobile phone-based transfers

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Lucy Ingham
Lucy Ingham
Head of Content
Lucy is Head of Content at FXC Intelligence, overseeing all content and taking deep dives into the trends and data driving changes in payments. Before joining FXC Intelligence, Lucy worked as a… Read more
  • Two of Southeast Asia’s major economies, Thailand and Singapore, have come together to offer online money transfers powered just by mobile phones – with no need for parties to the transaction to provide other details.
  • The systems will be run by two platform companies in the region – PromptPay in Thailand and PayNow in Singapore.
  • The move between the two countries was led by central banking and monetary authorities in each – and comes after the nations agreed to work together as part of the Asean Payment Connectivity pact.

Two major Southeast Asian countries have come to an agreement over online money transfers made by mobile phone.

Thailand and Singapore said that they had reached an agreement that meant that senders in each country could transfer cash to recipients in the other simply though a mobile phone number.

Each nation’s peer-to-peer finance systems will be used to help the international money transfers go through smoothly.

Crucially, some of the key information normally needed to make an online money transfer – such as the name of the recipient – will not be needed under the new system.

Instead, the phone number alone will be enough for the transaction to go through.

Two companies in the region will be responsible for running the system day to day.

In Thailand, this will be PromptPay, and in Singapore, it will be PayNow.

The collaboration itself was orchestrated by two monetary authorities in the countries – the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Bank of Thailand.

Overall, users will be able to make cash transfers of 1,000 Singaporean dollars, or around 25,000 Thai baht.

Both of these figures are roughly equivalent to US$800.

Users will also benefit from much-increased speed.

It is believed that the peer-to-peer networks behind the move will be able to move cash across borders in a matter of minutes rather than days.

In a statement, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Bank of Thailand emphasised that the new arrangement would give customers more transparency around the pricing structure.

“The fees will be affordably priced and transparently displayed to senders prior to confirming their transfers,” they commented.

They added that forex rates would appear in advance before the mobile phone transaction was made.

“Senders will also be able to view the applicable foreign exchange charges prior to sending their funds, with these rates benchmarked closely to prevailing market rates,” they explained.

The collaboration has a long history, and is the result of many years of the organisations involved working together.

In 2019, the institutions agreed to work together under a system known as Asean Payment Connectivity, which aims to improve the speed and cost-effectiveness of international money transfers in the important region.

There is a lot of innovation like this in the field of international money transfers – and it’s important for you to stay on top of what’s going on so that you can make accurate decisions about where to make payments. Read our reviews section here.


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