Everything About UPI-PayNow, a Real-Time Payment System Between S’pore & India Bank Accounts


For those of us who have relatives or business partners all the way in India—this is big news.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has just launched the linkage between Singapore’s PayNow and India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

People in Singapore and India will now be able to send real-time payments to one another.

That means with just a few clicks, you’ll be able to transfer money overseas between accounts in Singapore and India in an instant. The only downside to this is probably your relatives constantly pestering you for money here on out, though. 

Here’s everything you need to know. 

Who Will This Be Available To?

First announced in September 2021, the feature was released on 21 February 2023 and made available only to certain customers of Singapore’s leading consumer bank, DBS, and Liquid Group, a Fintech company specialising in digital payments, under a phased approach.

This means they will slowly allow more users to participate and gradually increase transaction limits until the end of March 2023.

For our relatives or business partners in India, they will be able to access it through Axis Bank, DBS India, ICICI Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and State Bank of India.

Selected DBS and Liquid group customers will be able to use the newly released function to transfer funds up to S$200 per transaction, capped at S$500 a day. 

By 31 March, this service will be extended to all the bank’s customers, where they will be able to transfer funds of up to S$1,000 a day.

What to Expect

The linkage between PayNow and UPI will offer cheaper, faster, and safer cross-border payments, directly between bank accounts or e-wallets. 

“It is convenience between your finger-tips,” said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at its launch. 

The feature allows you to pay using just your mobile phone number, your UPI identity, or your Virtual Payment Address (VPA).

A live demonstration at the virtual launch event showed a transaction between Governor Das and MD Menon (using State Bank of India and LiquidPay apps respectively) to be almost instantaneous, assuredly faster than the time your encik’s grandmother takes to run 2.4km.

The service will benefit foreign workers and students living in Singapore and India, since it allows them to transfer funds across the border at a low cost.

The system also has a set of capital control rules that ensures money is transferred smoothly and efficiently. 


What This Means For S’pore

Prime Minister Lee has mentioned that he hopes this strong partnership will spawn innovative technology solutions and create cross-border opportunities for both Singapore’s and India’s digital economies. 

Annually, cross-border retail payments and remittances between Singapore and India amount to over US$1 billion, an amount more than almost all of us would ever see in our lifetimes.

Because of this, efforts have been made to progressively enhance payment connectivity across the border. 2018 brought about QR code and card payments between Singapore and India, by way of a collaboration between NETS and India’s NPCI International Payments Limited.

This linkage, the fruit of a long collaboration between many different financial institutions from both countries, certainly marks a new milestone in the establishment of fast, accessible and safe cross-border payments.

Hopefully, this will help the “Indian scammer” stereotype die down as well.