Find it a chore to settle your bills at the end of the month? Imagine the convenience if you can pay your bills over the Internet or even via your mobile phone and Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)? This could become reality when the systems, practices and procedures for Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment (EBPP) are standardised in Singapore.....
Singapore, 12 March 2002 | For Immediate Release
Find it a chore to settle your bills at the end of the month? Imagine the convenience if you can pay your bills over the Internet or even via your mobile phone and Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)? This could become reality when the systems, practices and procedures for Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment (EBPP) are standardised in Singapore. With EBPP, bills can be created, delivered, retrieved and paid for through secured electronic means.
The Information Technology Standards Committee (ITSC), an industry-led body which looks into standardisation issues, has formed an EBPP working group to spearhead this initiative. Its immediate task is to establish a national standard and framework for EBPP procedures in Singapore. This working group is chaired by Mrs Ong-Ang Ai Boon, Convenor of the EBPP Working Group in the ITSC and Director of the Association of Banks in Singapore. It comprises nine key players of the banking and finance sector as well as related businesses such as bill consolidators and billing organisations.
Said Mrs Ong-Ang Ai Boon, "The coming-together of the participating banks and organisations in the e-business sphere to spearhead this initiative marks a positive move by the industry towards building a national and cohesive foundation for the advancement of e-payments and settlement services in Singapore".
National standards, code of practice and framework
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the EBPP initiative has been concluded between the Singapore Productivity and Standards Board (PSB), the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the EBPP Working Group. Under the MOU, the stakeholders will work together to develop a national framework, code of business practice and technical messaging standards for EBPP in Singapore.
Mr Wilson Tan, Chairman of ITSC said, "I am delighted to see this commitment of strategic intent between the industry and government in the area of Internet billing. I believe that the standardisation of systems, practices and procedures for electronic bill presentment and payment will bring about wider acceptance and increase user confidence in electronic commerce."
He added, "Standardisation has far-reaching impact on all sectors of the economy. The ITSC embarked on its new three-year term of office last October and we will continue to foster a cooperative process involving the industry, government and consumers to produce coherent and interoperable infocomm standards to enhance the economic well-being of Singapore".
As the national standards body, PSB's role is to improve the productivity and competitiveness of local enterprises through standardisation. "The establishment of a set of technical standards for the EBPP industry in Singapore will lead to greater inter-operability for the industry and wider adoption of EBPP services. Ultimately, both consumers and EBPP service providers stand to gain from this industry-led initiative", said Mr Teo Nam Kuan, PSB General Manager for Standards and Metrology.
Benefits to be reaped
Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment can bring many benefits to both businesses and consumers. Widespread use of electronic bill presentment and payment enables companies to save time and costs in processing bills and free up resources which can be redirected to improve customer service. With EBPP, billing costs can be cut by 50 - 90 percent, according to a report by Giga Information Group in January 2001.
EBPP will also facilitate integrated e-billing, allowing consumers to view, consolidate and pay bills from different organisations electronically anytime and anywhere. Besides direct control over both the timing and the amount of payment, consumers could also query directly the bills presented. This saves time and effort for both the billing organisations and consumers.
Said Dr Kaizad Heerjee, IDA's Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development Group and Local Enterprise Internationalisation, "The Infocomm Literacy Survey 2000 reveals that 50 per cent of Singaporeans are adept at transacting online. With Singaporeans increasingly embracing an e-lifestyle, the convenience offered by electronic bill payments will enhance our quality of life and motivate more people to adopt an e-lifestyle. We believe the industry will also welcome this effort to establish common standards for EBPP as it has the potential to spur e-commerce growth. With this initiative, Singapore is another step closer to becoming one of the leading e-commerce hubs in the region".
JOINTLY ISSUED BY: Singapore Productivity and Standards Board, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, Information Technology Standards Committee and Association of Banks in Singapore
Notes to Editor:
1 The EBPP Working Group, chaired by Mrs Ong-Ang Ai Boon, is one of the working groups under the ITSC. The working group comprises nine key players in the local financial services sector. They are the Association of Banks in Singapore; BCS Information Systems Private Limited; the Development Bank of Singapore Limited; Ezybills Private Limited; Green Dot Capital Private Limited; the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited; Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited; Network for Electronic Transfers (S) Private Limited; and United Overseas Bank Limited.
2 A billing consolidator collects bills from multiple billing organisations and presents them to the end-user in a single bill.
3 A billing organisation issues bills to customers for services rendered. In most cases, the billing organisation is the service provider.
About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is a dynamic organisation with an integrated perspective to developing, promoting and regulating info-communications in Singapore. In the fast-changing and converging spheres of telecommunications, information and media technologies, IDA will be the catalyst for change and growth in Singapore's evolution into a vibrant global info-communications technology centre. For more information, please visit https://www.imda.gov.sg/.
Singapore Productivity and Standards Board (PSB)
The mission of the Singapore Productivity and Standards Board (PSB) is to raise productivity so as to enhance Singapore's competitiveness and economic growth for a better quality of life for our people. In carrying out its mission, PSB focuses on three areas: domestic sector and SMEs, productivity and innovation promotion, and standards and conformance.
As the national standards body, PSB helps to improve market access for Singapore's exports through its work on standardisation. Standardisation is also used as a major strategy to raise the productivity of industries, especially in the domestic sector.
Information Technology Standards Committee (ITSC)
The Information Technology Standards Committee (ITSC) is an industry-driven IT standardisation group in Singapore, supported by the Singapore Productivity and Standards Board (PSB) and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA). Coming under the auspices of the Singapore Standards Council, ITSC is the national representative to ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1, and other international standardisation forums such as UN/CEFACT and EAN International. For more information, please visit www.itsc.org.sg.