On Friday (17/11/2023), the central banks of Singapore and Indonesia announced the launch of cross-border payment services, as part of an effort to enhance connectivity in the region. The joint statement from Bank Indonesia (BI) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said that customers of 12 banks in both countries can now pay merchants in either country by scanning QR codes.
MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon said that this system will boost cross-border e-commerce and tourism spending between Singapore and Indonesia. Indonesia is the largest economy and the fourth most populous country in Southeast Asia, with 270 million people. In the first half of 2023, more than a million travelers from Indonesia visited Singapore. The statement also said that the two central banks will set up a framework to allow cross-border payments in local currencies in 2024.
Singapore has already linked its QR payment service with China, Malaysia and Thailand. Menon said in a speech at the Singapore FinTech Festival earlier this week that “users around the world should be able to send money across borders in a secure, efficient and affordable way”. Singapore and Malaysia also introduced a new service on Friday that enables instant cross-border payments between the two neighboring countries, according to a joint statement from MAS and Malaysia’s central bank. Singapore has similar services with Thailand and India.