The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today announced that it will launch a proof of concept (POC) for an interoperable Singapore Quick Response Code Scheme (SGQR+).
The POC, to be conducted from 1 to 30 November 2023, will explore the feasibility of enabling merchants in Singapore to accept QR payments from a variety of payment schemes through a single financial institution.
The introduction of SGQR in 2018 successfully combined multiple payment QR codes into a single SGQR label. SGQR has become widely adopted by merchants as a simple and trusted solution to accept payments digitally. However, merchants that wish to accept a range of payment schemes (local or foreign) need to maintain commercial relationships with different financial institutions.
Consumers and tourists can only use their preferred payment applications if the merchant maintains a specific commercial relationship with the financial institution that corresponds with those payment schemes. There is therefore scope to enhance interoperability for QR payment schemes.
SGQR+ will increase the number of payment methods that merchants can accept. Merchants will only need to sign up with a single financial institution to unlock a diverse range of local and cross-border payment schemes. By aggregating multiple payment providers using SGQR+, merchants will no longer need to maintain commercial relationships with several financial institutions to accept different payment schemes.
With SGQR+, consumers can look forward to using their preferred payment applications at more merchant acceptance points. Tourists can enjoy transacting conveniently using their native payment applications, as merchants empowered by the SGQR+ solutions will be able to easily accept more international payment schemes.
During the POC, SGQR+ will be rolled out with 23 payment schemes, across more than 1,000 merchant acceptance points at the venue of the Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) and in the Changi district.
The POC will be conducted through two separate tracks featuring different technology solutions.
• Track I is led by Liquid Group, which will operate a switch that processes payments between the financial institution serving the merchant and the financial institution serving the consumer. Consumers will also be able to use payment applications linked with credit cards to scan and pay at Liquid Group’s participating merchants.
• Track II is led by NETS, which will allow consumers to scan and pay at NETS’ participating merchants with a variety of local and foreign payment schemes. This solution is currently available to merchants that are part of the government-subsidised Hawkers Go Digital programme. The POC will test the commercial feasibility of deploying this solution across other merchant segments with merchants paying for this service.
Banking Computer Services Pte Ltd, the operator of the SGQR central repository, will manage the POC and provide technical support to the POC participants.
Details on the SGQR+ concept, the POC and its constituent tracks can be found in a whitepaper on “Interoperable QR Payments in Singapore”, which has been published today ahead of the launch of the POC.
The results of the POC will be detailed later in a report and will inform the public on the viability of deploying SGQR+ on a larger scale.
Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer of MAS, said: “SGQR+ is a significant leap in interoperable QR payments. It will streamline payment acceptance for merchants and substantially increase the number of merchant acceptance points for both local and foreign consumers to use their preferred e-wallet or banking application. The POC launch paves the way for Singapore to become a global leader in QR payments and a potential QR payments hub.”
Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker