BIS, MAS Plots Blueprint for a Global Real-Time Retail Payments Network

BIS, MAS Plots Blueprint for a Global Real-Time Retail Payments Network

by July 29, 2021

The Bank for International Settlements Innovation Hub Singapore Center and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) published a proposed blueprint to enhance the global payments network connectivity via multilateral linkages of countries’ national retail payment systems.

Titled Project Nexus, this blueprint outlines how countries can fully integrate their retail payment systems onto a single cross-border network, allowing customers to make cross-border transfers instantly and securely.

According to a statement from MAS, “this blueprint will bring like-minded regulators and instant payments operators along with global bodies like the G20 and the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) together to make real-time cross-border payments a reality in the next two to four years”.

The Nexus blueprint comprises two main elements, the first being the Nexus Gateways which is to be developed and implemented by the operators of participating countries’ national payment systems.

It will serve to coordinate compliance, foreign exchange conversion, message translation and the sequencing of payments among all participants.

These gateways will be predicated on a common set of technical standards, functionalities and operational guidelines set out within the proposal.

The second element is an overarching Nexus Scheme that sets out the governance framework and rulebook for participating retail payment systems, banks and payment service providers to coordinate and effect cross-border payments through the network.

Under the Nexus blueprint, participating countries will only need to adopt the Nexus protocols once to gain access to the broader cross-border payments network.

This removes the need for countries to negotiate payment linkages with each jurisdiction on a bilateral basis.

The Nexus blueprint was developed through extensive consultation with multiple central banks and financial institutions across the globe.

It builds on the pioneering bilateral linkage between Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay launched in April 2021, and benefits from the experience of the National Payments Corporation of India’s (NPCI) development and operation of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system.

The blueprint can be built upon through continued research and engagement with regulators, payment operators, banks, and other industry participants collaborating towards a technical proof-of-concept.

Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer, MAS Singapore Hungary fintech

Sopnendu Mohanty

Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer, MAS said,

“To achieve significant cost-reduction in cross-border payment transfers, enhancements must be made on two fronts: direct connectivity between domestic faster payment systems, and frictionless foreign exchange on shared common wholesale settlement infrastructures.


The BIS Innovation Hub Singapore Centre is working on both. The Nexus project maps out a much-needed set of standards to achieve seamless cross-border payment systems connectivity.”