At the official launch of SGQR: (From left) Mr Ong Ye Kung, Education Minister and Board Member of MAS; Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS; and Mr Leong Keng Thai, IMDA's Deputy Chief Executive.
By Eugene Neubronner and Billy Teo
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung speaking at the official launch of SGQR.
A quick scan of the SGQR code with his phone allowed Mr Ong Ye Kung to pay for a cup of coffee.
Pick, scan and pay with your mobile phone with less hassle as Singapore reins in the explosion of Quick Response (QR) code stickers popping up island-wide.
The Singapore Quick Response Code for Payment (SGQR) – a world-first – will replace the multiple QR stickers found across retailers, restaurants and more with a single SGQR sticker – reducing the clutter at the payment counter as multiple e-payment options clamour for consumer dollars.
Part of efforts to build up Singapore’s e-payment ecosystem, SGQR was launched by Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, who is also a board member of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), on 17 September 2018.
Acknowledging SGQR as the ‘latest feature… (in) the last few jigsaw pieces’ of the national e-payment infrastructure, Mr Ong said: “We have taken some time to build up an open, accessible and inter-operable e-payments infrastructure which fosters competition innovation and enhances consumer experience.”
There were other two announcements, which included opening up the FAST (Fast and Secure Transfers) network to non-bank players such as service providers of e-wallets; and introducing protection guidelines for e-payments.
Consumers, added Mr Ong, will only use e-payments when they feel safe.
“We have put in a strong regulatory framework in the Payment Services Bill and e-payments user protection guidelines to ensure ease of mind for users.”
Here's a peek at how SGQR works.
Here are some quick facts about SGQR before you start shopping:
1. Code of honour: SGQR’s stickers will work with (almost all) your e-wallet, credit card or payment app of choice: SGQR will be adopted by 27 different payment schemes from various service providers, including popular ones such as PayNow, NETS, GrabPay, Liquid Pay and SingTel Dash. And it can accept both Singapore and international e-payment solutions down the road. With more SGQR points deployed, you can use your e-wallet to make payments across the island.
2. You still need to check: While SGQR can accept dozens of e-payment options, consumers still need to check on the brands listed below the SGQR code, to confirm that the store accepts your choice of payment app or method. The good news – rather than playing ‘Spot The Sticker’ at the cashier, you only have to check one sticker.
3. It’s being rolled out right now: SGQR will be introduced progressively from now to early 2019, starting with the Central Business District. Some 19,000 existing QR stickers from different payment scheme will be replaced with SGQR stickers. Participant payment providers will also be rolling out SGQR for new merchants from now.
4. It could lead to better loyalty rewards: With only one sticker, it is expected that companies competing for customers will offer better and more varied options to entice you to use their app. That’s great for customers looking to maximize the bang for their buck.
5. We all benefit from lower costs: Because the system is centrally maintained and stickers are simple to deploy, it is a cheaper alternative for stores to accept e-payment options – so costs don’t get passed on to customers.
6. An industry effort: Getting natural competitors to come together is a Herculean task, so it is a big deal that SGQR was developed collaboratively by an industry task force, led by MAS and IMDA. You can check out the full list of members here. The task force was set up by the Payments Council, which consists of members from banks, payment service providers, businesses and trade associations.
For more information, scan the SGQR page.
Or you can watch the SGQR animation for a visual explanation.