Sunday, 12 August 2018

PayNow Corporate: Cashless payments to businesses, government from 13 Aug 2018

Fund-transfer service will be extended to reduce the reliance on cash and cheques
By Ng Jun Sen, Political Correspondent, The Straits Times. 11 Aug 2018

The push for a cashless society will take a big step forward when PayNow Corporate is launched next week, allowing businesses to receive funds directly from local accounts at participating banks, businesses and banks said yesterday.

This means, for instance, that individuals, who have become used to paying one another directly through PayNow on their mobile phones, will have the same convenience when they buy goods and services from businesses or make and receive payments to and from the Government.

Businesses will also be able to make and receive payments to and from each other.

PayNow Corporate, which goes live on Monday, allows the unique entity numbers of firms and government agencies to be linked to their local bank accounts.

This would help reduce the reliance on cash, long a key form of payment by consumers, and cheques, which are still commonly used between businesses.

The move to go cashless is part of the national drive towards a Smart Nation.

With PayNow Corporate, consumers would launch their banks' mobile banking apps or e-payment apps and scan a QR code to pay the company directly from their bank accounts. The cashless transfer is almost instant, and works 24/7. It saves time and cuts costs as cheques take up to two days to clear, and Giro, up to three days.

So far, banks have received an "overwhelming response" from businesses in signing up to the new system, an OCBC Bank spokesman told The Straits Times. Nine in 10 of its new business banking customers have pre-registered for PayNow Corporate since April. The service was announced by the Association of Banks in Singapore in June.

OCBC's head of global transaction banking Melvyn Low said: "Singapore's e-payment journey so far has been focused on the consumer. But for e-payments to become pervasive, the next big step has to come from businesses."

DBS Bank projects about 50,000 small and medium-sized enterprises will sign up for PayNow Corporate by the end of next year.

But many other firms are waiting to see how the system pans out before coming on board. Singapore Business Federation chief executive Ho Meng Kit said businesses want to see if the processes are practical and transaction costs are low.

But firms are optimistic about the advantages of a system like PayNow Corporate, he added.

Among government agencies, the Singapore Land Authority said it would adopt PayNow Corporate, which would be convenient for customers doing over-the-counter transactions, for instance.

General insurer AIG also said it would roll out the service to travel insurance customers for a seamless experience, said chief executive Claudia Salem.

Businesses see the advantages in having instant injections of cash while doing business.

Shalom Movers chief operating officer Gabriel Lam would like the use of cash and cheques minimised. He said: "We normally have to make daily trips to the bank, to queue, to deposit the cash and cheques. Now, we can save that time. "

PayNow Corporate to help SMEs save time and cost, say players
The Straits Times. 11 Aug 2018

The extension of the service PayNow to businesses - called PayNow Corporate and available from Monday - is set to bring convenience and cost savings to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), market players said.

PayNow is a peer-to-peer fund transfer service that lets customers of participating banks instantly send and receive money using just their mobile or NRIC numbers.

PayNow Corporate allows businesses and the Singapore Government to instantly pay and receive money using the organisations' unique entity numbers.

It will be available from 8am on Monday.

PayNow QR will also be launched at the same time to enable consumers and businesses to scan the merchant QR code on invoices or websites to make payments.

The seven banks involved in PayNow Corporate are United Overseas Bank, DBS Bank/POSB, OCBC Bank, Citibank, HSBC, Maybank and Standard Chartered Bank.

An OCBC survey found that two in three SMEs in Singapore are likely to go cashless by 2023. The bank, which released its findings yesterday, polled 200 such companies and more than 45 per cent said they are likely to go cashless as early as 2020.

Cake cafe Lady M has gone cashless at its outlets at South Beach and Scotts Square and found such benefits as a reduction in the time it spent on billing and, for customers, on waiting. It accepts only non-cash payment methods like Alipay.

Besides the seven banks named, another two will join them to offer PayNow services, the Association of Banks in Singapore had said in April. These are the Bank of China as well as Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and they will bring the pool of participants to nine banks.

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