“The launch of UPI-Pay Now Link today is a much-awaited gift to the citizens of both countries. With this facility, a cheaper and real-time option for remittances between the two countries would be possible. This will especially benefit our overseas brothers and sisters, professionals, students and their families,” PM Narendra Modi said at the launch event with his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong and central bankers from both countries.
The link will enable Indians to transfer up to Rs 60,000 a day (SGD 1,000) with similar mechanism in the pipeline for transactions with other countries. Cross-border retail payments and remittances between Singapore and India are estimated at over $1 billion annually.
Digital transactions to soon exceed cash in India: PM Modi
RBI deputy governor T Rabi Sankar said that linking fast payment networks across borders was part of the G20 agenda to bring down costs of cross-border remittances. He said that currently, the transfers happen through banks, but attract a certain cost and take time because India is a country with capital controls. Such linkages, he added, would make transfers more efficient and cheaper.
With the link in place, money in bank accounts or e-wallets can be transferred using UPI-ID, mobile number, or Virtual Payment Address (VPA)
The government has been pushing UPI as the tool for digital transactions and Modi on Tuesday said 2022 saw 7,400 crore transactions worth Rs 125 lakh crore. “This shows how easily and securely India’s UPI system handles large numbers,” he said, while adding that some experts were predicting that volumes could surpass cash transactions in the coming years.
He also said that the Digital India campaign has provided a platform for unprecedented reforms in governance and public service delivery which has increased ease of living and ease of doing business. He said that Digital India has improved connectivity and financial inclusion at unprecedented speed. He said that so far, the developments in fintech were limited to within the country’s borders, but today’s launch would open the doors for cross-border connectivity.
Launch of UPI-PayNow started a new chapter of cross-border Fintech connectivity: PM Modi
Modi recalled his statement five years ago, saying that Singapore was a celebration of fintech innovation and faith in youth. “Today, in the world of fintech, thousands of startups in India are proving their mettle. Due to this energy, today India is among the leading countries in the world in terms of real-time digital transactions,” he said.
The Singapore PM said the idea of linking PayNow and UPI was first conceived in 2018, when Modi visited Singapore.
“As we progressively add more users and use cases, the PayNow-UPI linkage will grow in utility, and contribute more to facilitating our trade and our people-to-people links,” Lee said.
Watch PM Modi & Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong launch cross-border linkage between UPI, PayNow