Singapore is keen to promote the use of electronic payments. In his National Rally Day speech last week prime minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Singapore lags behind other countries in the use of electronic payments and should make an effort to catch up. Six out of 10 transactions in Singapore still involve cash and cheques, and the situation is not helped by the lack of interoperability between the e-payment services that are available, he said.
While debit and credit card schemes work well for larger businesses, they are not always feasible for smaller merchants who need an "infrastructure-light and cheaper solution", the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said.
Some of these merchants have been using their own QR codes, but this has led to fragmentation. A common code would allow payments among different payment schemes, e-wallets and banks and "help make payment transactions simple, swift, seamless and safe", MAS said.
The taskforce will be co-led by MAS and the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) and will also involve the Housing Development Board, National Environment Agency, SPRING Singapore and payment scheme providers including Alipay Singapore E-Commerce, NETS, EZ-Link and Singtel, MAS said.
By the end of 2017 the taskforce aims to develop standardised SGQR specifications to accept both domestic and international payment schemes. The taskforce will also consider the governance structure and implementation strategy for QR payments, MAS said.