Singapore Set To Launch Interoperable QR Code

November 2, 2023
The Monetary Authority of Singapore has announced that it will launch a proof of concept for an interoperable Singapore Quick Response Code Scheme (SGQR+).

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced that it will launch a proof of concept (POC) for an interoperable Singapore Quick Response Code Scheme (SGQR+).

“SGQR+ is a significant leap in interoperable QR payments,” said Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer at the MAS. 

The POC, which will be conducted throughout November, will explore the feasibility of enabling merchants in Singapore to accept QR payments from a variety of payment schemes through a single financial institution. 

A total of 23 payment institutions are due to take part, including Visa, Mastercard, NETS, WeChat and Google Pay.

What will happen?

The POC will be conducted through two separate tracks featuring different technology solutions.

Track I will be led by Liquid Group, a Singaporean payments firm. Liquid Group 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, meanwhile, will be managed by Danish payments firm 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 Singapore government-subsidised Hawkers Go Digital programme for businesses. 

The POC in this track will test the commercial feasibility of deploying this solution across other merchant segments with merchants paying for this service.

Paving the way

“The POC launch paves the way for Singapore to become a global leader in QR payments and a potential QR payments hub,” said Sopnendu. 

It is hoped that this POC will be able to 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. 

It is an extension of SGQR, which was launched in 2018. This combined multiple payment QR codes into a single SGQR label, and has since become widely adopted by merchants in the country. 

However, merchants that wish to accept a range of local or foreign payment schemes still need to maintain commercial relationships with various 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, which is why the MAS believes that there is scope to enhance interoperability for QR payment schemes. 

SGQR+ will increase the number of payment methods that merchants can accept, and merchants will only need to sign up with a single financial institution to accept various local and cross-border payment schemes. 

By aggregating multiple payment service providers using SGQR+, merchants will also no longer need to maintain commercial relationships with several financial institutions to accept different payment schemes.

The results of the POC will be detailed later in a report from the MAS. This will inform the public on the viability of deploying SGQR+ on a larger scale.

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