QR Code – Transactions of The Future
A task force has been set up to specifically to develop a common QR code for Singapore (SGQR) that could be used for e-payments islandwide.
The task force was set up under the purview of a newly formed payments council which was set up to look into ways to advance e-payments in Singapore.
A QR – quick response – code is a square barcode used increasingly for scanning all sorts of data onto smartphones, for instance.
“Council members advocated the use of QR code-based payments as a practical and convenient way to introduce e-payments to cash-based merchants at their first meeting on August 11.
“QR codes are already being used for e-payments today. DBS, for example, has been encouraging small cash-based merchants like hawkers and market vendors to adopt QR codes as a payment method,” the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in a recent statement.
To use the QR code, a the buyer scans the merchant’s displayed QR code with his phone at the point of sale.
This automatically displays the merchant’s name in the DBS PayLah app and the buyer can then enter the payment amount.
The payment is then automatically deducted from the buyer’s DBS PayLah wallet to the merchant’s.
There have been more than 15,000 QR code transactions a month via DBS PayLah since QR code payments were introduced in April.
What the task force is aiming for is a standardised QR code that can be read by any customer in Singapore, regardless of which banking app he is using.
According to OCBC Bank’s head of e-business, business transformation and fintech and innovation, Pranav Seth, diverging standards, leading to multiple QR codes at points of sale, lead to confusion for both consumers and merchants on what payment instruments to use, and how to use them.
He said this slows down the pace of cashless adoption and the displacement of cash.
“As Singapore starts to adopt QR codes, this is an opportune time for us to standardise as an industry and avoid this confusion at an early stage.”
The council members agreed a common QR code could better facilitate payments among different payment schemes, e-wallets and banks.
Involving a broad range of stakeholders such as banks, payment schemes, QR payment service providers and relevant government agencies, the SGQR Task Force, as it is known, will be co-led by the MAS and the Infocomm Media Development Authority.
By year end, the task force aims to have in place standardised SGQR specifications to accept both domestic and international payment schemes.
It will also consider the governance structure and implementation strategy for QR payments.
Ravi Menon, who is MAS managing director and payment council chairman said this is the kind of idea exchange and collaboration within the ecosystem to realise a shared vision of an e-payments society.
“Our goal is to make the payments experience efficient for businesses and delightful for everyone, including the young and elderly.”