SINGAPORE - The PayNow fund transfer system, which will go live on July 10, will not replace existing e-payment apps and methods butcomplement them and make them even easier to use, banks say.
The PayNow system, which will allow people to transfer money to one another using just the recipient's mobile number or NRIC number, was announced by the Association of Banks in Singapore on Tuesday as an important step towards making Singapore a cashless society.
To send and receive money through PayNow, customers of seven participating banks - DBS, OCBC, United Overseas Bank, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Citibank and Maybank - will have to link their mobile and NRIC numbers to their accounts, either on the bank's website or through its mobile app.
One bank account can be linked to one mobile number and one NRIC number, and the sender will be able to see the recipient's name before confirming the transfer.
But this new system does not mean that bank customers will have to learn a completely new way of transferring funds, nor that existing fund transfer apps will become obsolete, banks say.
Take for example the OCBC PayAnyone service, which is available on the OCBC mobile banking app. Once PayNow goes live, an OCBC customer who wants to send money to a friend can still use OCBC PayAnyone to do so and the process will be even easier than it is today, the bank explained.
Currently, the OCBC customer would have to set a passcode to be shared with the friend, which the friend will then have to enter to "unlock" and receive the funds into his own account, regardless of bank.
From July 10, if the friend has registered his mobile number or NRIC number on the PayNow system, then the OCBC customer need not set a passcode any more.
The PayAnyone app will recognise the friend's mobile number as being part of the PayNow system and the fund transfer can be processed immediately.
"With PayNow integrated with OCBC Pay Anyone, our e-payments will become even more convenient, seamless and ubiquitous, as recipients will now be able to receive payments directly and securely into their bank accounts without having to perform any 'collection'," said Mr Pranav Seth, OCBC's head of e-business, business transformation and fintech and innovation.
Similarly, DBS says its PayLah! app, which is a digital wallet, will be even more useful once PayNow goes live.
Currently, both senders and receivers need to have the app in order to make a transfer. Under PayNow, only the sender has to have the app.
The same DBS PayLah! app with QR code payment capabilities can also be used to pay merchants across the island, the bank noted.
"Our plans for DBS PayLah remain unchanged," said DBS' head of cards and unsecured loans, Mr Anthony Seow.
"In May this year, we announced that we would lead the way in driving cashless payments within Singapore with the introduction of the 'Smart Nation Ambassador Programme', with DBS ambassadors fanning out across the island to encourage small, cash-based merchants - primarily hawker stalls, wet market vendors and neighbourhood stores - to adopt DBS PayLah! QR codes as a payment method."
The bank is also partnering ComfortDelGro Taxi to implement QR code payment in its fleet of 16,300 taxis by the third quarter of this year, he added.
"Altogether, we aim to have more than 60,000 QR code payment acceptance points available to customers by the end of the year."
Some Singaporeans are already enthused about PayNow, but several also said they would like to see more merchants adopting cashless payments too.
Marketing manager Benson Low, 39, said it was about time that Singapore introduced such a system.
"In China they use WeChat and Alipay for most transactions. Most youngsters don't even have cash on hand," he noted.
On his last visit there, he was impressed at how businesses had adopted cashless payments and other digital platforms to offer impeccable service.
"I went there as tourist and know some friends there. I was very surprised to see them order and pay for food via WeChat, befor eeven setting foot in the resturant. Upon arrival,the food was ready and once we were finished eating, we could just leave. It was very efficient."