Electronic payment methods for retail purchases have gained some traction in Singapore, although certain challenges prevent the concept from being fully adopted in the country.
In 2016, KPMG Advisory estimated that cash was still king as it accounted for around 90% of payments for small transactions in consumer establishments, including hawker centres and wet markets. However, the Singaporean government has jump-started the initiative of streamlining e-payment technology.
Current e-payment schemes require the use of a smart-phone that scans a QR code, which then serves as proof of payment. For this reason, the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) Payments Council has sought to make it easier for small merchants to use the concept by planning to release a common code by December 31.
The planned code will encourage small enterprises to promote e-payment among customers, as it would save business owners from paying transaction fees when customers use credit or debit cards for payment. Those who have other ideas can pitch their suggestions, following the government’s launch of a Request for Information in August.
Most Singaporeans shun the idea of using mobile applications due to lack of familiarity and whether or not these would pose a threat to their bank accounts. Still, the government hopes that a common e-payment method may finally resolve doubts among businesses and consumers.
With the planned release of a common code, fixed satellite services (FSS) in Singapore may require certain improvements. Unlike in the past, FSS systems no longer just cater to television and other broadcast networks, as the pace of digital expansion led service providers to create novel solutions for mobile technology.
Singapore needs to improve its digital payment methods to keep up with the concept’s increasing use abroad. Do you see yourself scanning a code instead of using cash to pay for small purchases in the future?