Leveraging Cloud for Cross-Border Payments Between India and Singapore

Abhilash D
DBS Tech Blog
Published in
4 min readSep 27, 2023

The integration of Singapore’s PayNow with India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is another step towards financial inclusion for all.

We live in a world where the lightning-fast delivery of goods and services is expected, with customers increasingly demanding immediate access to their purchases. This reality, paired with advancements in technology, rising global competition, and shifting consumer trends is placing digital payments and cross-border transactions at the cusp of transformation.

The realm of digital payments is evolving rapidly to meet these new challenges. As banks and fintechs collaborate and innovate on this front, the core strategy for enabling next-gen payments is simple: Make it safe for customers to pay anywhere, any way, and anytime.

Figure 1: Earlier in 2023, DBS enabled cross-border payments between Singapore’s PayNow, and India’s UPI

Integrating Singapore’s PayNow with India’s UPI

Foreign remittance, or the financial transfer of funds across borders, is a major aspect of digital payments. The flow of remittances between India and Singapore represents one of the largest corridors in the world – foreign remittance shifts around USD 1 billion annually. Fast and efficient money transfers between the two countries not only improves the lives of many, but also takes DBS one step closer to our quest of being the Best Bank for a Better World.

Earlier this year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) joined forces to integrate India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Singapore’s PayNow. This integration enables participating financial institutions to facilitate real-time fund transfers between bank accounts or e-wallets.

We take immense pride in being the first and only bank in Singapore to participate in this digital payment linkage. In India, DBS is one of the six banks participating in the initiative, while also serving as one of the only two settlement banks entrusted with processing international remittances for the PayNow-UPI integration. Customers stand to gain from this arrangement as it provides a secure, straightforward, and cost-effective method for cross-border fund transfers.

Figure 2: The PayNow-UPI ecosystem

The partnership allows DBS to expand its reach by onboarding customers from new markets, while offering a more diverse range of payment options. It will significantly benefit migrant workers, students studying overseas, tourists, small businesses, and enterprises. It also establishes a strong foundation for cross-border payments between India and ASEAN countries, creating a favourable environment for digital payments beyond borders.

When Tech Meets Purpose

The PayNow-UPI linkage is the world’s first to feature a cloud-based infrastructure. As DBS handles close to 2 million domestic FAST transactions (an electronic service that lets users transfer funds immediately between participating banks) on a daily basis, such high volume throughput required a robust application built on containers that could be scaled quickly and effectively. Keeping this in mind, we chose the OpenShift container platform to enhance domestic FAST payments and the UPI process. This supported DBS Singapore’s integration with Banking Computer Services Singapore (BCS), and DBS India’s integration with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). BCS and NPCI integrated their secured network through the cloud to send and receive messages from their respective banks. Overall, this resulted in faster and more efficient cross-border transfers with low transaction costs, improved security, and fraud detection.

In addition, leveraging technology stacks such as Spring boot, MariaDB, Cloud Native Application, and OpenShift containers also helped us to address the multiple hops in payments, along with the transaction time and time zone difference that we faced during the integration testing phases.

Behind The Tech

DBS Tech India’s payments team handled the development of all the systems related to FAST. In this instance, the team developed the cross-border payments flow for PayNow as part of DBS Singapore’s FAST Payments, and the cross-border payments flow for UPI as part of DBS India’s. Both of these integrations have been developed as a product to support cross-border integration between the respective countries.

The team also extensively collaborated with all the stakeholders across India and Singapore including NPCI and MAS, and actively participated in the designing, development, and testing phases.

Our work on PayNow-UPI expedites integration with other corridors in the pipeline such as PayNow-DuitNow, and UPI integration with FAST networks of UAE, Mauritius, and Indonesia. In fact, the PayNow-DuitNow integration between Singapore and Malaysia replicates the same setup described above.


The PayNow-UPI integration delivers real-time, low-cost cross-border transfers that take just one minute. This allows urgent or time-sensitive payments to be quickly made between Singapore and India, empowering both business transactions and personal remittances.

Migrant workers in Singapore can easily send money back to India, while Indian students studying abroad in Singapore can get instant access to funds from their parents. Moreover, the close business ties between India and Singapore with bilateral trade of US$30.11 billion in 2021–2022 can only benefit from another mode of payment.

Intrigued by the work we do at DBS Tech India? Learn more about us at https://www.dbs.com/dbstechindia.

Abhilash leads the Institutional Banking Global Technology (IBGT) and Future-Ready Tech (FRT) platforms at DBS Tech India. He is a seasoned technology executive with 18+ years of diversified experience in the banking domain, such as building and leading technical teams developing critical products and solutions for payments, internet banking, and core baking.