Singapore’s government agencies are to accept and make payments via the global e-payments service PayNow, the government has announced. When the system is up and running, it is expected that citizens will be able to complete 90-95% of transactions with the government using the platform.
PayNow only requires knowledge of the payee’s mobile number or personal identification number to transfer funds, and has grown to become one of the world’s most widely accepted e-payment systems. Singaporeans will be able to use it to pay school fees and traffic fines, for example, making payments by using their banking apps to scan QR codes.
A bulk tender has been put in place to bring public agencies onboard with the service, which is currently available to government agencies and businesses that are customers of seven participating banks: Citibank, DBS Bank/POSB, HSBC, Maybank, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and UOB.
“This is in line with the digital government blueprint target to offer e-payment options for all government services by 2023,” a spokesman from the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) told Vulcan Post.
“The bulk tender will allow government agencies to easily tap PayNow to disburse or receive payments in cases where the government does not have the account numbers of recipients, and to effect these transfers in real time to improve service delivery.”
The new system is expected to overtake use of the current Giro system, which requires people to fill out forms with their bank account details and takes up to two days to clear payment.
According to The Business Times, as of 10 August, there had been more than 1.6m PayNow registrations, and over S$1.2bn (US$867m) transferred, using the e-payment platform in Singapore.
Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said the central bank’s vision is to make Singapore an e-payments society that is “inclusive, innovative and perhaps even inspiring”.
As part of Smart Nation, a government initiative that aims to harness technology to improve people’s lives, MAS seeks to create a Smart Financial Centre where “innovation is pervasive and fintech is used widely”. E-payments are a key component of this agenda, and MAS is promoting them to boost convenience, competition and innovation in the country.