PayNow transactions doubled to $22 billion in 2020, on track to set higher record this year

More than 7,800 stalls in hawker centres now have the SGQR labels.
More than 7,800 stalls in hawker centres now have the SGQR labels.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - PayNow transactions doubled in both volume and monetary value since the Covid-19 pandemic began, from 2019 to 2020.

Transactions in the first half of this year also put the e-payment service's full-year figures on track to surpass last year's.

From January to June alone, cashless payments via PayNow had surpassed the $20 billion mark. In comparison, transactions totalled $22 billion in the whole of last year.

The number of transactions this year is also likely to exceed 2020's 125 million. In the first six months of the year, 90 million fund transfers had been made.

These figures were revealed by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, in a written parliamentary reply to Mr Ang Wei Neng (West Coast GRC) on Monday (Oct 4).

"Credit and debit card transaction values and volumes have been fairly stable during this period, while digital wallet use has been growing," Mr Tharman also noted.

Cashless payments can reduce costs and risks for businesses, and also save time.

They are also more environmentally friendly, although the authorities have said the aim is not a cashless society, as some people are not as used to e-payments.

There is currently a range of e-payment options that Singaporeans use, including the Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR), a single QR code that can be used with many digital payment platforms, such as PayNow, GrabPay and Nets.

About 75 per cent of the merchants in Singapore now use SGQR as a means of accepting payment, Mr Tharman said. These are 150,000 businesses from stores in shopping malls to food stalls at hawker centres.

Growth in the use of e-payments has been encouraging, he said.

In August alone, nearly two million e-payment transactions worth $18.3 million were made at 11,600 stalls in hawker centres, Housing Board coffee shops and JTC canteens.

More than 94 per cent of these transactions were via SGQR.

More than 7,800 stalls in hawker centres now have the SGQR labels, compared with 2,300 in May. More than 4,000 coffee shop stalls also use the labels, much higher than the 800 in May.

Correction note: An earlier version of this article said PayNow transactions in 2020 totalled $22 million while transactions from January to June this year surpassed $20 million. This has been corrected. We are sorry for the error.