Singapore businesses will be able to use and accept PayNow in 2018

Businesses will be able to use inter-bank e-payment system PayNow from mid-2018, Minister of Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung, who is also board member of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), revealed on Monday (Nov 13).

The system, which has garnered over 600,000 sign-ups since its launch in early July, will allow businesses to pay each other or receive payments from customers through their Unique Entity Numbers (UENs).

People are already using PayNow for everyday transactions like splitting lunch bills and sharing the cost of joint purchases. But it is businesses that stand to gain the most in efficiency and cost reduction by adopting e-payments,” Mr Ong said at the Singapore FinTech Festival welcome dinner.

At the same time, Mr Ong acknowledged that the many different types of e-payment systems in the market can be confusing for the man on the street.

In response, the Payments Council will be setting up SGQR, a nation-wide common QR specifications for e-payments.

According to Mr Ong, all major banks, e-wallet providers, and payment schemes are already on board with SGQR, and it will be progressively rolled out next year.

“So in the very near future, when you walk into a shop that accepts QR code payments, you should only see SGQR with all the acceptance marks underneath it. If your payment method is accepted by the merchant, you just need to use your smartphone to scan and pay to a single SGQR,” he said.

During his speech, Mr Ong also revealed that Singapore is working to improve e-payments interconnectivity with regional countries such as India and China.

To this end, NETS has plans to establish a framework to enable cross-border payment linkages with India’s National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI).

This will allow customers in Singapore to make online purchases on any NPCI e-commerce merchant website in India with their NETS account.

There are also plans to allow NETS payments at 2.8 million RuPay point-of-sale terminals in India. At the same time, RuPay customers in India will also be able to pay at any NETS acceptance points in Singapore with their RuPay card or mobile phone.

The Singapore FinTech Festival will host some 25,000 participants and 160 speakers from over 100 countries over three days. It is the world’s largest FinTech festival, and will feature a FinTech Conference and Global FinTech Hackcelerator.