UOB completes ASEAN’s first real-time cross-border funds transfers between mobile phone numbers

United Overseas Bank (UOB) has successfully completed ASEAN’s first cross-border peer-to-peer funds transfer proof-of-concept (POC) where real-time payment was made between bank accounts linked to the account-holders’ mobile phone numbers.

The POC models the cross-border funds transfer experience on peer-to-peer funds transfer services that use a bank account-holder’s registered mobile phone number as a proxy for their bank account number, such as PayNow in Singapore. Currently in ASEAN, such peer-to-peer funds transfer services are only available for intra-country transactions.

UOB was able to complete the POC in less than two months as the Bank already has the necessary building blocks in place.

The POC taps UOB’s integrated regional technology network and payment infrastructure to facilitate the funds transfer process across countries.

It also rides on UOB’s all-in-one mobile banking app, UOB Mighty, which is available in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The use of a single app across all markets enables the bank to create, to test and to roll out features quickly.

Graeme Greenaway, Managing Director and Head of Banking Technology, Group Technology and Operations, UOB, said, “Our ability to be agile and swift to test innovative ways of making payments simpler, smarter and safer for customers is possible because of our investments in an integrated real-time payment system built across our network. The cross-border, peer-to-peer funds transfer POC is a good showcase of this, as the transactions are enabled through the capabilities of our payment infrastructure.

Automatic currency conversion

Given the different currencies involved in cross-border funds transfers, the POC also feeds off the same digital foreign exchange (FX) engine that is used by UOB’s digital multi-currency account, Mighty FX. This enables the solution to convert automatically to the local currency of the receiving bank account at the same competitive FX rates offered by Mighty FX.

Following the successful POC transactions between a UOB Singapore bank account and a UOB Thailand bank account, the Bank will broaden the POC to its other key ASEAN markets. UOB will also explore enhancing the POC with other features available through its integrated payments network, such as QR capability.