Set up clearing house to process e-payments

In his National Day Rally speech in August, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made a call to popularise cashless payments in Singapore.

Many organisations have since announced the launch of their cashless payment platforms. The new players include Nets Pay, Grab Pay and AliPay. Each new player has been enrolling merchants into its platform.

These new platforms add to the existing ones, including those offered by the banks and the telephone companies.

The proliferation of platforms will not lead to greater adoption of cashless payments in Singapore. We cannot expect the merchants to sign up with several platforms to receive their cashless payments.

I suggest that the Monetary Authority of Singapore take the lead to introduce a clearing house for e-wallet payments. This is similar to the clearing house for payment by cheques.

With a clearing house in operation, merchants can open an e-wallet with only one platform and receive e-payments from the e-wallets of other platforms that conform to the technical standards specified by the clearing house.

This clearing house or portal can also provide the linkage to the banks for transfers using PayNow.

It will allow consumers to transfer money into their e-wallets, and merchants to transfer their collections into their bank accounts at a lower charge than what they now have to incur.

I believe that the clearing house will be an important step in the adoption of cashless payments on a wide scale.

Tan Kin Lian

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2017, with the headline 'Set up clearing house to process e-payments'. Print Edition | Subscribe