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Singapore's public healthcare agencies to adopt SGQR payments by end-2020

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DBS Bank is working with Singapore’s public healthcare system to transition all public hospitals, specialty centres and polyclinics to the nation’s unified payment code, Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR), by the end of next year.

DBS Bank is working with Singapore’s public healthcare system to transition all public hospitals, specialty centres and polyclinics to the nation’s unified payment code, Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR), by the end of next year.

In a phased approach to encourage a gradual shift to digital payments, SGQR will be first launched across 27 public hospitals, specialty centres and polyclinics with effect from Monday, DBS said in a media release on Monday. 

The initiative, which involves Singapore's three public healthcare clusters - the National Healthcare Group (NHG), National University Health System (NUHS) and Singapore Health Services (SingHealth) - is part of a push towards a cashless and chequeless society. 

Currently, around one in five consumers pay their healthcare bills via cash or cheque, said the DBS release, citing statistics from SingHealth.

With SGQR, consumers can make payments simply by using their mobile phones to scan the SGQR code at the counter and type in the bill reference number. They simply choose their preferred QR payment option labelled on the SGQR and pay accordingly.

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Launched in 2018, SGQR is the world’s first common QR code. By unifying a multitude of QR payment options available in Singapore now, it helps save consumers and counter staff the hassle of deciding which QR code for payment and collections, said DBS. 

Raof Latiff, head of digital, institutional banking for DBS Bank, said: "With Singapore’s ageing population, having an easy-to-use digital payment method like SGQR is a progressive step to encourage wider e-payment adoption across various age demographics.

"In particular, SGQR will be helpful for elderly patients who wish to learn to be more digitally-saavy as all they have to do now, is to look out for one QR code at the counter or in their paper bills to make payment through their mobile phones instantly – saving them the hassle of shuffling through loose notes and coins, or issue cheques to make payment.”

Wong Soo Min, group chief financial officer for NUHS, said: "As part of the service transformation for our entire cluster, SGQR dovetails many of our other patient-centred initiatives to simplify processes and improve the overall patient and caregiver experience. This will enable them to focus on their recovery journey instead."

In another integration with SGQR, businesses can now use a SGQR code to collect payments through PayNow. The PayNow-SGQR was officially launched at the Singapore FinTech Festival on Monday.

Businesses no longer need to generate and display a separate PayNow QR code. This means consumers can directly scan a SGQR code with the PayNow logo and pay via PayNow with their preferred bank app.

PayNow is a peer-to-peer funds transfer service that allows retail customers of the nine participating banks to send and receive money using only their mobile number or Singapore NRIC/FIN.

There are more than 3 million registered individual PayNow users and 129,000 business PayNow users. Since its launch in June 2017, more than S$12 billion has been transferred.

The PayNow-SGQR is part of Association of Banks in Singapore's (ABS) objective to "push PayNow as the ubiquitous payment mode in Singapore", Ong-Ang Ai Boon, director of ABS, said.

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