E-payments in Singapore: Taskforce to develop common QR code formed

E-payments in Singapore: Taskforce to develop common QR code formed

Both OCBC Bank and DBS Bank are pushing QR code payments. (Photos: OCBC and DBS)

SINGAPORE: An industry taskforce looking at the development of a common QR code for Singapore has been formed, as Singapore continues its push to making cashless payments more pervasive as part of its Smart Nation vision.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Tuesday (Aug 29) that the taskforce - called SGQR - aims to have in place standardised QR specifications to accept both domestic and international payment schemes by the end of 2017. It will also consider the governance structure and implementation strategy for QR payments, it said. 

The central bank said debit and credit card schemes worked well for large merchants and retailers, but these solutions were often not feasible for smaller merchants who preferred an infrastructure-light and cheaper solution. 

However, the proliferation of more proprietary QR codes at these merchants risks fragmentation of payment solutions and inefficiency among merchants and customers - an issue Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong highlighted during his National Day Rally speech this year.

As such, the Payments Council members said a common QR code could facilitate payments among different payment schemes, e-wallets and banks, according to the MAS press release.

"It would help make payment transactions simple, swift, seamless and safe for everyone."

The industry taskforce set up to develop the common QR code, and will be co-led by the MAS and the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA). Other members include government agencies such as the Housing and Development Board, National Environment Agency and SPRING Singapore. 

Non-government partners include Alipay Singapore E-Commerce, Singtel, NETS, UnionPay International as well as financial institutions such as DBS Bank, OCBC Bank, United Overseas Bank, Mastercard and Visa. 

Source: CNA/kk