Singapore and Indonesia QR payment link to be ready by end-2023: Bank Indonesia

JAKARTA – Travellers visiting Indonesia from Singapore can by the end of the year use their smartphones to make QR code payments from their Nets-linked bank accounts, said a Bank Indonesia (BI) official.

Conversely, businesses and individuals from Indonesia will be able to scan QR codes provided by e-payments service provider Nets in Singapore.

Work on establishing a cross-border QR payment linkage between the two countries, which was announced in 2022, is halfway to completion, said Deputy Governor of BI Filianingsih Hendarta.

Mrs Filianingsih was quoted in local reports in end-May saying that three-quarters of user acceptance tests – also known as beta testing – that have to be done between the two countries had been completed.

“So they have tried to and are connected, and hopefully before the end of the year, we can implement this with Singapore,” she added.

When asked for more details, a Nets spokesman told The Straits Times on Monday that it was currently in the development stage for a Quick Response Code Indonesian Standard (QRIS) and Nets cross-border QR payment linkage. They are working towards a year-end launch in Singapore and Indonesia. 

“Through industry collaboration, we aim to broaden customer access for our local merchants and give Singapore consumers more options to pay when overseas,” he said.

In August 2022, BI and the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced that they would be commencing work on this cross-border QR payment linkage.

This move would allow users from Singapore to make instant and secure retail payments by scanning the QRIS code displayed by Indonesian merchants.

The central banks said the move will help empower individuals and small and medium-sized businesses to conduct cross-border trade, e-commerce and financial activities more efficiently. It will also support tourism growth as international travel resumes.

Singapore had enabled cross-border QR payments with Thailand in 2019, following an agreement between Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank and Singapore-based fintech start-up Liquid Group.

The partnership allows Thai tourists to pay for purchases in Singapore using their own Thai QR payment apps.

QRIS codes can currently be used in Thailand and Malaysia. BI said on May 25 that it was developing cross-border QRIS implementation with Singapore, Japan, India and China.

Singaporean Hashim Usman, a retiree in his 60s who travels to Indonesia at least thrice a year with his family for holidays, said that he was looking forward to the move.

“I currently have to change a fair bit of cash when I travel, or I have to pay with my credit card. It would be much easier to pay straight from my local bank account,” he said.