Published Date: 21 February 2023

Remarks by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Launch of the PayNow-UPI Linkage on 21 February 2023

Honourable Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das

Monetary Authority of Singapore Managing Director Ravi Menon

Distinguished Guests


I am very happy to join you virtually for the launch of the real-time retail payment systems linkage between Singapore’s PayNow and India’s UPI (Unified Payments Interface).

The idea of linking PayNow and UPI was first conceived in 2018, when PM Modi visited Singapore. Since then, our two central banks have been working on this in earnest. Digital connectivity was also a key topic discussed at the inaugural India-Singapore Ministerial Roundtable (ISMR), which was held in New Delhi last September. So I am very glad that the PayNow-UPI linkage has now become a reality.

Cross-border retail payments and remittances between Singapore and India amount to over US$1 billion annually. Over the years, we have progressively enhanced our cross-border payment connectivity. In 2018, Singapore’s NETS worked with India’s NPCI International Payments Limited to allow card and QR code payments between our two countries. Today, we are taking retail payments connectivity another step forward.

The PayNow-UPI linkage will offer cheaper, faster, and safer cross-border retail payments and remittances, for businesses and individuals alike, directly between bank accounts or e-wallets. It is convenience at your finger-tips, paying using justyour mobile phone number, your UPI identity, or your Virtual Payment Address (VPA).

The PayNow-UPI linkage is India’s first cross-border real-time payment systems linkage, and Singapore’s second. It is also the world’s first such linkage to feature cloud-based infrastructure, and participation by non-bank financial institutions. As we progressively add more users and use cases, the PayNow-UPI linkage will grow in utility, and contribute more to facilitating our trade and our people-to-people links.

My warmest congratulations to MAS and RBI, as well as the many different stakeholders – the payment system operators, the payment scheme owners, bankers’ associations, the financial institutions – from both countries who have helped realise the PayNow-UPI linkage.

I hope this strong partnership between Singapore and India will continue to spawn innovative technology solutions and create more cross-border opportunities for our digital economies.

Thank you.