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Taskforce set up to develop a common QR code for Singapore

AN industry taskforce, co-led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) as well as banks and other agencies, will look into developing a common QR code for Singapore (SGQR).

The standardised SGQR specifications to accept both domestic and international payment schemes is targeted to be in place by the end of 2017.

The taskforce, which also involves the Housing Development Board (HDB), National Environment Agency (NEA), SPRING Singapore as well payment scheme providers like Alipay Singapore E-Commerce, NETS, EZ-Link and Singtel, will also consider the governance structure and implementation strategy for QR payments.

In a release on Tuesday, the MAS said establishing interoperable electronic payments and developing a common QR code for Singapore were two key topics that the Payments Council discussed at its inaugural meeting on August 11, 2017.

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Council members advocated the use of QR code-based payments as a practical and convenient way to introduce e-payments to cash-based merchants. While debit and credit card schemes worked well for large merchants and retailers, these solutions were often not feasible for smaller merchants who preferred an infrastructure-light and cheaper solution.

The Council noted, however, that the proliferation of more proprietary QR codes at such merchants risked fragmentation of payment solutions and inefficiency among merchants and consumers.

"Council members agreed that a common QR code could facilitate payments among different payment schemes, e-wallets and banks. It would help make payment transactions simple, swift, seamless and safe for everyone,'' MAS said.

Ravi Menon, Chairman of the Payments Council and Managing Director of the MAS said, "Our goal is to make the payments experience efficient for businesses and delightful for everyone, including the young and elderly."