SINGAPORE: Companies and government agencies will be able to use funds transfer service PayNow from August, with the introduction of the PayNow Corporate service.
From Aug 13 at 8am, PayNow Corporate will let businesses and government agencies pay and receive Singapore dollar funds "instantaneously", the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) said in a media release on Wednesday (Jun 20).
The service will allow companies and government agencies who are the corporate customers of seven banks - Citibank, DBS Bank/POSB, HSBC, Maybank, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and United Overseas Bank - to transfer and receive Singapore dollar funds instantaneously with the use of their bank’s mobile app.
Organisations which sign up for PayNow Corporate will have their Unique Entity Number linked to their Singapore bank account.
A QR code will also be generated for both individual and corporate users of PayNow when the new service rolls out. The PayNow QR Code will be part of the Singapore QR (SG QR) code, which will take effect in the second half of 2018.
Individual customers of the Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China who have registered with PayNow will also be able to use the QR code to transfer funds, but not their corporate customers.
In a media briefing on Wednesday, ABS director Ong-Ang Ai Boon said that PayNow Corporate “takes away the need to know the bank account number".
According to Mrs Ong, more than a million people in Singapore are using PayNow and more than S$900 million has been transferred through the service since its launch last July.
Education Minister and Monetary Authority of Singapore board member Ong Ye Kung announced the launch of PayNow Corporate on Wednesday at the 45th annual dinner of ABS.
He said that consumers would simply need to scan the QR code of the company they are transacting with, using the mobile payment app on their smartphones to transfer money from their own accounts to the company’s bank account.
The transaction can also go the other way, where businesses and organisations can make mass disbursement to individuals through their mobile phone or identification numbers.
“There are various possible applications, such as salary crediting, insurance payouts, or giving out awards,” he added.
Mr Ong gave the example of how the Ministry of Education disbursed Edusave Award funds to students via PayNow earlier this year.
"CASH IS ALWAYS HARD TO HANDLE"
For business owners like Mr Kelvin Ngian, PayNow Corporate aims to make transactions smoother as the number of cheques his company has to collect will be reduced.
A lot of man hours are spent tallying cheques and cash payments against bank statements, said the general manager of Siam Coconut, a Thai coconut wholesaler.
“For those pop-up events, instead of spending a lot of money on a merchant terminal, we can actually leverage the PayNow system with QR code to enable us to collect cash much easier,” he said. “Cash is always hard to handle.”
According to ABS, the participating banks will release a mobile application for its corporate customers on Aug 13 so that it is more convenient for companies to make fund transfers via PayNow.
While acknowledging the benefits that PayNow Corporate can give to his company, Mr Kelvyn Chee, the managing director of retail company Decks, said he had some concerns.
“We are afraid … there's more transactions in our bank statement. Actually our staff have more work to do in terms of workload. The other thing is, we are afraid of (a) security breach,” he said.
The amount he has to pay to the bank to be a corporate PayNow user will also be another factor in deciding whether to adopt the new service.
Several banks that Channel NewsAsia approached declined to reveal the amount they will charge their corporate customers.
The extension of PayNow to businesses is part of a nationwide drive to go cashless, and follows the launch of PayNow for peer-to-peer fund transfers last year.
But Mr Ong highlighted that some Singaporeans are confused by the wide variety of payment options in the country.
The decision to have such a wide variety is deliberate, according to Mr Ong.
“Having one or two players dominate the market brings short term convenience to consumers, but in the context of Singapore, there will be significant downside risk in the long term due to a lack of competition,” he said.
The lack of competition will slow down the rate of innovation and lead to the risk of unfair pricing for consumers, he added.