With burgeoning demand for secure e-payments, more non-financial institutions are being included in intra-country e-payment ecosystems such as SEPA and FAST.

In Singapore, two payment networks — FAST and PayNow, facilitate swift and secure electronic fund transfer services, enable seamless and instantaneous SGD fund transfers between accounts/e-wallets held across both banks and non-financial institutions (NFI). 

Introduced in March 2014, FAST (the short form of Fast and Secure Transfers) initially served bank participants, but the service was later extended to encompass NFI participants in February 2021. PayNow has been in place since July 2017, initially catering to bank participants through the FAST system.

With these extensions, a growing group of NFIs are able to facilitate global real-time payment  alongside some 30 banks across the world, to tap into the on-demand digital economy arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

One NFI, Nium, moves money across borders through different local clearing systems, usually through banking partners. With its recent integration with the city state’s FAST and PayNow directly, the firm will be able to eliminate several steps and parties in the payment process, thereby adding more efficiency and resilience to payments in Singapore. 

Additionally, the firm will be able to provide virtual account numbers and PayNow proxies to customers, as well as send and receive Singapore currency in customers’ names, opening up new opportunities to offer fast, secure, and transparent payment experiences for customers worldwide. 

“Joining the FAST and PayNow networks is a pivotal step towards shaping the future of global real-time payments. In line with the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s vision, Nium is now a new NFI accessing the network to be able to offer cross-border real-time payments into Singapore. We are already able to do this in Europe through the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) network and are looking at integrating directly into clearing systems across many more countries.”

Anupam Pahuja, Executive Vice President and General Manager (Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa), Nium