The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) launched the world’s first unified payment QR code—The Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR) in September 2018 to unify the country’s QR payment network. The platform will not only accelerate QR payment adoption and acceptance in the country, but also set the standard for the rest of the region, says leading data analytics company GlobalData.

The mobile payment process in Singapore is confusing due to the volume of different solutions available in the market. Consumers have to spend time looking for the logo of their chosen payment service provider.

Arnie Cho, Financial Services Analyst at GlobalData, says: “Payments using mobile phones were designed with efficiency in mind, but instead have become a hassle. Merchants are constantly asked if they accept specific mobile wallets; for a Hainanese chicken rice stall that becomes an extra few hundred annoying ‘yes/no’ responses to customers throughout the day.”

SGQR combines 27 unique QR payment schemes including PayNow, NETS, GrabPay, Liquid Pay and Singtel DASH into a single label, making QR code-based mobile payments simple for both consumers and merchants. SGQR will be deployed progressively over the next six months.

Cho adds: “Consumers will no longer need to check whether their mobile wallet is accepted; merchants will not need to stipulate which individual schemes they accept; and the checkout area will be less cluttered, with only one QR code needing to be displayed.

“SGQR’s ability to work across borders will build upon previous work in the region to facilitate cross-border payments, giving it significant utility in an international city like Singapore.”

In 2017, Thailand and Singapore agreed to link up their instant payment systems PromptPay and PayNow, respectively, so consumers can transfer money directly using a telephone number at any time of day. Singapore is pursuing similar deals with other major markets such as China and India.

Cho concludes: “The convenience brought by the unification of QR payment solutions under a single platform will accelerate adoption of mobile payments in the market among domestic consumers and most importantly should kick-start cross border mobile payment acceptance by merchants in the city. It will further grow mobile payments at a regional Association of Southeast Asian Nations level as well.”