The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) signed on Monday an enhanced FinTech Cooperation Agreement (CA) to facilitate interoperable payments between the Philippines and Singapore. The enhanced CA builds on the earlier 2017 agreement to broaden the scope of FinTech collaboration and partnership between BSP and MAS.
The CA will facilitate the linkage of both countries’ real-time and QR payment systems, to facilitate instant, seamless, and low-cost cross-border payments. This is a significant initiative given the sizeable remittance flows between the Philippines and Singapore, which totaled USD 2.15 billion in 2020; and cater to the pre-pandemic yearly average of approximately 900,000 travelers between both countries.
BSP and MAS’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.
Benjamin E. Diokno, Governor of BSP, said, “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.”
Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS, said, “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.”