Project Nexus: blueprint for instant cross-border payments moves to testing phase

More than 60 countries already have instant (or "fast") payment systems that allow people to send money to each other within seconds. However, sending money abroad is often still slow and expensive. Connecting these national systems internationally could improve the speed, cost and transparency of cross-border payments.

Nexus is a model for connecting national payment systems into a cross-border platform. The project is now moving from the design phase to the testing phase. The BIS Innovation Hub will work with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Bank of Italy, Central Bank of Malaysia, BCS in Singapore and PayNet in Malaysia to connect the payment systems of Singapore, Malaysia and the euro area in an experimental proof of concept.

These partners have a wealth of experience in building and connecting payment systems. In April 2021, the Monetary Authority of Singapore linked Singapore's domestic payment system to that of Thailand, providing near-instant cross-border payments between these countries. It is now working on bilateral (country-to-country) connections to Malaysia and India. Meanwhile, TIPS, the euro zone-wide instant payment system, already connects to the domestic payment systems of countries across Europe. It is operated by the Bank of Italy.

The testing phase will explore the potential for Nexus to ease and speed up the process of linking fast payment systems. Nexus would standardise the way that these systems connect to each other. Rather than a payment system operator building custom connections for every new country that it connects to, the operator can make one connection to the Nexus platform. This single connection allows a fast payments system to reach all other countries in the network. This provides a more scalable way to grow instant cross-border payment networks.

28 Jul 2021

Nexus is a blueprint to connect multiple instant payment systems. It aims to enable cross-border payments in less than 60 seconds.

How does Nexus work?

Nexus makes it easier for instant payment systems to connect to each other across borders. This summary report addresses the challenges that would need to be overcome and explains how a platform like Nexus could streamline the process of linking national systems. It makes recommendations for countries that are upgrading or rebuilding their payments technology to prepare for cross-border interoperability.

The accompanying technical documents provide much more detail on the functionality required by payment systems operators, their member banks and service providers, along with proposed message flows and specifications for application programming interfaces (APIs) that will link different platforms.

The next phase of our work will test and improve on this blueprint by initially connecting the payment systems of Singapore, Malaysia and the euro zone. This experiment will process simulated payments but will not handle real money or actual payments from real users.