Customers of DBS, United Overseas Bank (UOB), OCBC and Maybank will be among the first in Singapore who can send money to one another via their smartphone number - regardless of the bank or the banking app they are using.
They can do so when a Central Addressing Scheme, backed by the Association of Banks in Singapore, is rolled out in the middle of this year.
The scheme will map mobile numbers to bank account numbers for funds to be credited. Users need to register for this with their banks. This saves senders the hassle of asking for and entering a recipient's account number - a bugbear of e-payments now.
Some banking apps already allow fund transfers via phone numbers, but both sender and recipient must use the same app for a seamless transfer.
The Central Addressing Scheme will be operated by locally based Banking Computer Services, which operates the Fast online interbank funds transfer system.
The new function will be integrated into banks' existing apps, such as DBS PayLah!, UOB Mighty, OCBC Pay Anyone and Maybank Mobile Money. The daily transfer limit under the new scheme is set at $1,000 by OCBC and UOB, and $999 by DBS. Standard Chartered will roll out the service on its SC Mobile app this year.
Said Mr Gilbert Chuah, UOB's head of customer experience for retail digital banking, said: "This will help small businesses minimise cash or cheque transactions, which can be cumbersome to track and account for."
Correction note: An earlier version of the article said Mr Gildbert Chuah is UOB's head of Internet channels. That is incorrect. Mr Chuah is the bank's head of customer experience for retail digital banking.