Thailand, Singapore can trade cash easily now with linked epay networks

Friends and family in Thailand and Singapore can now trade cash in a heartbeat using just their mobile phone numbers.

The two nation’s e-payment systems – Thailand’s Promptpay and Singapore’s PayNow – have been linked to enable convenient transfers for relatively low fees, both countries’ central banks said in a joint announcement today. 

“This service by the [Monetary Authority of Singapore] and the [Bank of Thailand] will effectively address customers’ longstanding pain points in the area of cross-border transfers and remittances including long transaction times and high costs,” Thai bank governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput said in the stilted tongue that is a banker’s weak point.

In Thailand, four Promptpay-powered institutions – Bangkok, Kasikorn, Krung Thai and Siam Commercial banks – have signed on so far. In Singapore, it can be used by those holding DBS, OCBC and UOB accounts. 

The 24/7 cross-border service will allow customers at those banks to transfer up to THB25,000 or S$1,000 daily. Unlike normal wire transfers, customers need not fuss over filling in recipients’ details and waiting a day to move the money — these will be completed within five minutes.

Fees will be under 3% to 5% of transfer value, a huge discount from the global average of 11% for overseas transactions. This will be shown to senders before they send the funds as well as the applicable exchange rate.

The service is available under the international transfer option in the participating banks’ apps when choosing transfer between the two nations.

They hope to bring more banks online with the program in the future. The service is part of ongoing efforts to better link ASEAN’s financial institutions, and could see additional nations sign on, according to Sethaput.

Read more stories from Coconuts Bangkok here

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