We missed this earlier.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Government of India have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to expand fintech ties between the two countries, Retail Banker International reports. Under the terms of the MoU, both countries will set up a joint working group (JWG) which will be co-chaired by MAS deputy managing director Jacqueline Loh and India’s DFS additional secretary Ravi Mital.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to south-east Asia state saw a slew of digital payments related partnerships being announced.

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has entered into a partnership with Singapore’s domestic payment system operator Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS). This partnership will enable cross-border payment linkage between Singapore’s PayNow and India’s Immediate Payment Service (IMPS). Additionally, NETS and NPCI created a payment linkage system that will enable anyone with a Rupay card to transact payments at any NETS enabled merchant in Singapore, and conversely for NETS card users to make RuPay acceptance points in India. NETS and NPCI are reportedly also exploring the use of the NPCI’s UPI-based payments app BHIM to pay at NETS merchants.

SBI Singapore adds UPI

An event attended by the PM also saw the launch of UPI based remittance mode for account holders at any State Bank of India’s branches in the country. This has been designed to enable migrant workers in Singapore transfer money back home to their families in India. SBI country head in Singapore, Soma Sankara Prasad said the launch signalled the “internationalisation of India’s digital payment platform.” The allowance of cross-border remittance via UPI is an interesting step but it remains to be seen if this effort will be expanded to other countries and other banks. Currently, international wire transfers attract a large fee and can take time to go through, the addition of UPI will lead to a reduction in friction. A large population of migrant workers from India works in south-east Asia and the Middle East; therefore, the expansion of this facility to other banks and regions might significantly help increase the volume of transactions on UPI.

PM Modi’s RuPay photo-op

The launch of these services was highlighted in a photo-op by the Prime Minister where he used a RuPay card to purchase a Madhubani painting at the Indian Heritage Centre in Singapore. It must be pointed out that this is not the only way to use NPCI’s cards abroad as the RuPay Global card works with terminals that accept Discover, Diners Club and Pulse cards. According to the official website of the card network, “RuPay Global card with Discover, Diners & Pulse Network logos is accepted at over 39.3 million POS locations and over 1.88 million ATM locations in 185 countries/territories worldwide.”