Why should Singapore move towards e-payments?

E-payments enhance productivity and support the move towards a digital economy.


In his 2017 National Day Rally speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong quipped that Singapore trails behind other cities when it comes to electronic payments, and called for systems to be simplified and integrated. Factually takes a look at why e-payments are the way to go, and some of the upcoming plans.

Why e-payments?

E-payments make transactions simple, swift, and safe for both consumers and businesses. With e-payments, the digitisation of business processes will be boosted, which in turn can enhance productivity, reduce costs, and create new business models for companies in the digital economy.

What are our plans for e-payments?

A new funds transfer service – PayNow – was recently launched. You can use PayNow to instantly pay friends and family with only their mobile numbers or NRIC/FIN details - so there’s no need to put in bank and account numbers any more!

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the banks are working with industry players to simplify e-payments acceptance by merchants. This will involve the deployment of Unified-Point-of-Sales terminals across the island. 25,000 such terminals are expected to be rolled out over the next 18 months. 

For merchants who prefer an infrastructure-light and less costly solution, there are plans to develop a common QR code for Singapore (SGQR code). This will make it even easier for consumers and small businesses to do/accept small value payments across different payment schemes, e-wallets, and banks.

Can the overall costs and charges of e-payments be lowered?

MAS and the banking industry are working to extend PayNow to merchants and companies. In addition, the SGQR code, when implemented, will provide merchants with a cheaper alternative to accept different types of e-payments.

How to use PayNow

PayNow is available to customers of Citibank, DBS Bank/POSB, HSBC, Maybank, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and United Overseas Bank. Simply register for PayNow at any participating banks via their websites or mobile apps. You will need to link your bank account to either your mobile number or NRIC/FIN number.

Once you have registered for PayNow, it is time to start using it! Here are three simple steps to get started:

Step 1: Login to your banking website or mobile banking app

Step 2: Enter the recipient’s mobile number or NRIC/FIN number and the amount you wish to transfer

Step 3: Verify the name of the recipient and confirm your payment amount!

That’s it! At the end of the transaction, both you and the recipient will receive instant notifications of the transfer.


Find out more at https://www.abs.org.sg/consumer-banking/pay-now.

Source: Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, Monetary Authority of Singapore, and The Association of Banks in Singapore

This article is accurate as of Sep 2017.

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Unless otherwise indicated, the articles here are generally accurate as of their publication dates. Please visit the relevant Goverment agency website for the latest updates.