a woman checking her bill with a QR code

Singapore rolled out a unified payment system for businesses, in an effort to further drive the country in becoming a cashless society. Source: Shutterstock

Singapore’s businesses to transform with cashless drive

SINGAPORE recently launched PayNow Corporate, an e-payment service for businesses, to further drive the country towards becoming a cashless society.

The service allows business and the Singapore government to make or receive payments instantly, with just a Unique Entity Number (UEN), to a Singapore bank account.

This move has been widely accepted by industry players as a landmark change to establish Singapore’s position as a smart financial center.

Prior to the introduction of PayNow Corporate, merchants had to pay a fee of up to 4 percent for collecting real-time payments. Most merchants opted for cheques, which is both slow and expensive.

To encourage wider adoption, banks have been offering benefits for adopting PayNow Corporate. DBS is waiving all “inward” PayNow fees for SMEs and corporates, while UOB is including the service as part of a bundled cash management solution to help businesses manage their finances.

Both banks noted strong interest from their customers for the cashless payment system. Compared to traditional payments of cash or cheque, PayNow Corporate enables operational efficiency and greater visibility of business operations.

As reported by Singapore media Business Times, Brian Thung, Asean Financial Services leader at EY mentioned that there are still challenges for PayNow Corporate.

“To further accelerate the adoption of e-payments like PayNow Corporate across the region, driving regional interoperability is crucial,” he said.

Across the region, there are multiple e-payment platforms, not to mention the many countries in the region that still prefer cash.

Initiatives to improve regional interoperability is on the way, such as connecting Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay.

This will allow businesses and residents in both countries to make instant and secure transfers with just a mobile number, which can help boost efficiency and minimize the cost of cross-border payments.

PayNow Corporate is an extension of peer-to-peer funds transfer service PayNow, first launched in July last year. For the consumer service, users only need to know the payee’s mobile number or NRIC (National Registration Identity Card) number.

The corporate service is available to businesses, corporate bodies, and government agencies that are customers of participating banks. Retail customers can also use PayNow for making payments to businesses and receiving payments from the government.

According to a statement by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), there is also an option for PayNow QR, enabling businesses to receive customer payments via a QR code.

PayNow QR will be integrated with the Singapore Quick Response (SGQR) Code, the national standard for QR payments slated for roll out later this year.