PayNow to be linked to Thailand's PromptPay, among slew of initiatives announced at Fintech Festival

Singapore's PayNow system will soon be linked to Thailand's version of the same system, PromptPay.
Singapore's PayNow system will soon be linked to Thailand's version of the same system, PromptPay.PHOTO: MCI

SINGAPORE - The PayNow system that lets individuals transfer money to each other using just a mobile number will soon be linked to Thailand's PromptPay version.

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Ravi Menon told the Singapore Fintech Festival on Tuesday (Nov 14) that the move is one of several Singapore is taking to further it's Smart Nation agenda.

The MAS and the Bank of Thailand have agreed to work together to link PayNow and PromptPay, he said.

When the service is ready, people in Singapore and Thailand will be able to send money to each other using just mobile phone numbers.

In another initiative, the MAS and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will enter a research and development collaboration in fintech.

This will enable local fintech talent to work alongside world-class researchers at the MIT Media Lab to devise solutions to real-world issues, Mr Menon said.

They will run pilots using distributed ledger technology, cryptography, quantum computing and big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Mr Menon said a fintech innovation hub will be launched at 80 Robinson Road to further encourage experimentation and collaboration.

The building now houses Lattice80, a fintech "innovation village" that occupies two floors.

The whole building, with 100,000 square feet, will now become a fintech hub, and renamed 80RR.

The MAS is also launching a S$27 million Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics Grant. This is part of the S$225 million Financial Sector Technology & Innovation Scheme.

The new grant will support the adoption of AI and data analytics in financial institutions and used to help professionals in the financial sector to gain new skills.

Mr Menon also announced various other MAS initiatives to improve capabilities in areas such as trade finance, cybersecurity and data collection from financial institutions.

For example, the MAS and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority will jointly develop a Global Trade Connectivity Network, a cross-border platform for trade finance using distributed ledger technology.

The platform will enable the transfer of digital documents and data across borders, starting with the Singapore-Hong Kong trade corridor.

This is expected to go live in early 2019.

The week-long Singapore Fintech Festival, which began on Monday (Nov 13), has attracted around 25,000 participants from over 100 countries, making it the largest such event in the world.