Isn't just one 'standard' QR code system enough?

I applaud Nets' effort to develop a QR code that will be compatible with the e-wallets of seven major banks covering 90 per cent of retail transactions in Singapore (Single QR code system at hawker centres soon; Nov 21).

Ironically, on the very same day, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced a new QR code standard for Singapore, SGQR.

Why are there two "standards"?

Nets' QR code already satisfies MAS and IMDA's aim to allow merchants to display just one QR code for scanning by any e-wallet for fuss-free fund transfers.

It can even integrate with overseas payment services and international QR code payment schemes.

Did the industry task force assigned to look into the unified payment system feel that they had to show something more substantial for their efforts?

Would a simple endorsement of Nets' widely accepted and adopted standard not have been enough?

The banks will incur additional work and costs when they are forced to abandon Nets' standard.

It would also mean inconvenience and confusion for business owners, hawkers and consumers.

It would make sense to introduce a new standard only if the existing one has many shortcomings.

However, this cannot be the case for Nets' QR code, since it has been tested and accepted by so many banks.

SGQR just looks, on the surface, like change for the sake of change.

Keith Heah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2017, with the headline 'Isn't just one 'standard' QR code system enough?'. Print Edition | Subscribe