The central banks of Philippines and Singapore have reportedly expanded their existing fintech partnership to enhance cross-border digital payments in the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) signed the Fintech Innovation Function Cooperation Agreement last week.

It follows the Fintech Cooperation Agreement signed between the apex banks earlier this month, building on their 2017 agreement to deepen fintech ties between the countries.

The latest agreement involves initiatives to link QR and real-time payment systems of the two countries, as well as offering financial inclusion to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and micro-small-to-medium-sized businesses (MSMEs).

The BSP is currently in the initial stages of integrating the Philippine payment system with those of the ASEAN countries, following the integration with Singapore.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said: “The BSP is taking the initial step in linking the Philippine payment system with those of our ASEAN neighbors, beginning with Singapore.”

Diokno also added that the agreement will result in ‘safer and efficient’ cross-border payments, allowing for ‘smoother and more seamless’ international fund transfers.

MAS managing director Ravi Menon referred to the agreement as a ‘concrete step towards the vision of an ASEAN network of interconnected real-time payment systems’.

The latest development follows a series of partnerships signed by the MAS to foster regional payment integrations across Asia.

In September, MAS announced a collaboration with Bank Negara Malaysia to accelerate cross-border fund transfers via mobile numbers.

The same month, it joined forces with the Reserve Bank of India to link India’s UPI and Singapore’s PayNow fast payment systems.