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Singapore, Malaysia shoppers can now pay cross-border merchants via smartphones

The Johor-Singapore Causeway from the driver's perspective in Singapore, on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022.
The Johor-Singapore Causeway from the driver's perspective in Singapore, on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. (Edwin Koo/Bloomberg) (Bloomberg)

By Nurin Sofia

(Bloomberg) — Singapore and Malaysia travelers can now pay for their purchases via mobile phones, with plans to expand financial connectivity between the neighboring countries to real-time fund transfers by the year end.

The countries established a cross-border QR code payment linkage on Friday (31 March), according to a joint statement from the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Bank Negara Malaysia. This allows retail customers of participating banks to pay at stores or to online merchants by scanning QR codes.

The move underscores the trend of instantaneous payments and fund transfers via mobile phones happening across Southeast Asia, bypassing the need to exchange currencies at money changers or to visit bank branches.

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In February, Singapore linked up real-time money transfers with India, following a similar connection with Thailand. The city-state’s tie-up with Malaysia is particularly significant given their vast people flows, with annual traffic between the two countries averaging 12 million visitors before the pandemic.

By year-end, Singapore and Malaysia plan to expand this payment linkage to include fund transfers and remittances using mobile phone numbers.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.