Central bank tests spur global instant payment hopes

FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) are seen beside the construction site of Baloise Park in Basel, Switzerland March 26, 2019. Picture taken March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

LONDON (Reuters) - A year of tests run by central banks in Italy, Malaysia and Singapore have spurred hopes for a global instant payments network accessible at the tap of a mobile phone.

The ability to send money quickly and cheaply around the world has long been seen as something of a holy grail for policymakers due to the advantages it would bring for both people and companies.

Current transfers are slowed by the patchwork of more than 60 different instant payment networks, so central banks involved in the new tests have been working on ways to improve the process.

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the central bank umbrella body, which helped oversee the "Nexus" trials, said the three countries involved had successfully sent payments between themselves using only mobile phone numbers.

Looking ahead, the BIS said further trials would be run by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand with the hope that "Nexus could eventually be implemented globally."

(Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by Mark Potter)

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