The PayNow fund transfer system that goes live on July 10 will not replace existing e-payment apps and methods but make them even easier to use, banks say.
PayNow will allow people to transfer money to one another using just the recipient's mobile or NRIC number. The Association of Banks in Singapore announced it on Tuesday as an important step towards developing a cashless society.
Customers of seven participating banks - DBS Bank, OCBC Bank, United Overseas Bank, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Citibank and Maybank - who want to send and receive money through PayNow will have to link their mobile and NRIC numbers to their accounts, either through the bank's website or 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.
The new system does not mean having to learn a new way of transferring funds, nor that existing fund transfer apps will become obsolete, said the banks.
Take the OCBC Pay Anyone service. An OCBC customer sending money to a friend now has to set a passcode to be shared with the recipient. The friend, who need not be an OCBC account holder, will then have to enter the passcode on his end to "unlock" and receive the funds into his own account.
From July 10, if the friend is registered on PayNow, the OCBC customer will not have to set a passcode any more. "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.
United Overseas Bank's UOB Mighty app will also be integrated with PayNow, said Ms Jacquelyn Tan, the bank's Singapore head of personal financial services. "Knowing that electronic fund transfers are one of our most often used features on the app, we have added the PayNow function to UOB Mighty's home screen."
DBS said its PayLah! app will be easier to use. Both senders and receivers must have the app to make a transfer, but under PayNow, only the sender has to have the app.
"PayNow has complementary benefits to DBS PayLah! and makes sending money even easier. Our plans for DBS PayLah! remain unchanged," DBS head of cards and unsecured loans Anthony Seow said.
These include encouraging small cash-based merchants like hawkers, market vendors and neighbourhood shops to adopt DBS PayLah! QR codes as a payment method.
Marketing manager Benson Low, 39, said it is about time that Singapore embraced cashless payments. He said that on a visit to China, he was impressed by how businesses used cashless payments and digital platforms to offer good service.
He said: "I know some friends there. I was very surprised to see them order and pay for food via WeChat, before even setting foot in the restaurant. Upon arrival, the food was ready and once we were finished eating, we could just leave. It was very efficient."