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Singapore and the Philippines further cross-border payments

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) have signed an enhanced fintech Cooperation Agreement (CA) to facilitate interoperable payments between Singapore and the Philippines.

The latest CA further develops an agreement in 2017 to broaden the scope of FinTech collaboration and partnership between MAS and BSP.

The CA will facilitate the linkage of both countries’ real-time and QR payment systems to provide instant and low-cost cross-border payments. The remittance flows between Singapore and Philippines totalled SGD 2.89 billion (about US$ 2.14bn) in 2020 and cater to the pre-pandemic yearly average of approximately 900,000 travellers between both countries.

Reducing payment frictions

MAS and BSP’s collaboration in payment infrastructure projects aligns with the G20’s efforts to address existing frictions in global cross-border payments, and contributes to Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) goal of establishing regional payments integration by 2025. Both central banks will also explore multilateral interoperability of these projects, in keeping with regional efforts to establish further linkages within ASEAN and with countries outside the region.

Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS, commented: “The enhancements to the MAS-BSP FinTech Cooperation Agreement will help fast track payments connectivity between Singapore and the Philippines. Critically, the linking of our QR and real-time payment systems also marks a concrete step towards the vision of an ASEAN network of interconnected real-time payment systems.”

Benjamin E. Diokno, Governor of BSP, added: “The BSP is taking the initial step in linking the Philippine payment system with those of our ASEAN neighbors, beginning with Singapore. Effectively linking our QR and real-time payment systems will enhance the safety and efficiency of cross-border payments through the smoother and seamless international transfer of funds, ultimately promoting the financial welfare of Filipinos that regularly use cross-border payment services.

“These beneficiaries may include overseas Filipinos; export, import and tourism businesses; as well as firms with affiliates or investors abroad. This enhanced CA will further strengthen our ties with Singapore and take us a step closer towards having an integrated and interoperable cross-border payment system in the ASEAN region.”

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