New Way to Pay Up — Just Use Mobile Phone Numbers or IC

Wednesday, Jun 28 2017 08:41 AM

SINGAPORE — Consumers will soon be able to transfer funds directly to one another using their mobile phone number, with the PayNow service.

Seven banks — Citibank Singapore, DBS Bank/POSB, HSBC, Maybank, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and United Overseas Bank — will offer this scheme from July 10, according to a statement by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) on Tuesday (June 27).

The new digital fund transfer system will enable customers of any of the seven participating banks to send and receive money instantly using their mobile phone number or NRIC/FIN.

This removes the need for customers to know the fund recipient’s bank account details to transfer funds.

The move is in line with the Republic’s drive towards “an electronic-payments society”, as outlined by Mr Ravi Menon, managing director at the Monetary Authority of Singapore at a FinTech and Financial Inclusion event last year.

Mr Tony Cripps, CEO of HSBC Singapore lauded the joint move as a “good example of how all of us as an industry (can) rally behind a transformative payments solution” that makes it simpler, easier and faster for customers to pay each other.

PayNow can be accessed using the participating banks’ existing Internet banking platform or mobile banking apps, through which users must first link their mobile number and Singapore NRIC/FIN or both, to their bank account to receive funds.

This is in addition to the existing system of electronic funds transfer service — Fast (Fast And Secure Transfers) — launched in March 2014, that enables customers of 19 participating banks to transfer Singapore-dollar funds from one bank to another almost instantly. The Fast system, however, requires the user to key in the bank name and account number of the recipient.

Highlighting the increased dependence on mobile phones, Ms Jacquelyn Tan, head of personal financial services Singapore at UOB said the bank had noted a 92 per cent year-on-year increase in Fast transactions from 2015 to last year.

“We expect PayNow to accelerate the growth in electronic payments as it removes the need for the recipient to remember and to share his or her bank account number,” Ms Tan said.

“Customers wanted a fund-transfer service that is even more convenient and simpler than what Fast offers. ABS worked with the seven banks over the last two years on PayNow. We are now looking at an enabling system for funds transfer between individuals and corporates,” said Mrs Ong-Ang Ai Boon, director of ABS.

Some of the homegrown mobile payments apps include DBS’ PayLah! and Standard Chartered’s Dash that allow users to transfer funds to others with the same app.

OCBC’s Pay Anyone allows customers to send money to recipients in Singapore, using only their mobile number, Facebook ID or email address, while UOB Mighty is an all-in-one mobile banking app and wallet similar to Android Pay.

The existing mobile payment wallets, according Mrs Ong-Ang, have limited operability, but will complement PayNow. The future potential to expand this digital fund transfer mechanism for cross-country payments within the region is also being looked at.

Most of the 10 member nations of the Association of South-east Asian Nations have adopted the ISO 20022 — a standard for digital payments, she said at a press conference before the ABS Annual Dinner 2017 on Tuesday.

Singapore’s move towards a cashless society will be boosted by this initiative, said Mr Jeremy Soo, head of consumer banking group (Singapore) at DBS Bank.

“The introduction of PayNow also means that it now becomes even easier for our 500,000 DBS PayLah! users to transfer money without the receiver needing to download the app, as long as they are with the seven participating banks,” he said.

PUBLISHED: 8:30 PM, JUNE 27, 2017 ; UPDATED: 11:36 PM, JUNE 27, 2017