New Payments Council to plot S'pore's cashless drive

Singapore

THE Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has roped in representatives from several tech companies into its newly formed payments council, as its members look at how to build a cashless society in Singapore.

The individuals include ride-hailing company Grab's founder Anthony Tan, CEO of online retail platform Lazada Singapore Alexis Lanternier and group president of South-east Asia's most valuable startup Sea Ltd, Nick Nash.

The 20-person council also includes names from two homegrown businesses, Sheng Siong Group and supply-chain bigwig YCH Group, as represented by Sheng Siong's CEO Lim Hock Chee and YCH's executive chairman Robert Yap.

They join others from the banking and payments industry, including the CEOs from the three local lenders, Citibank and Standard Chartered, as well as from Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Nets. Other members include the council's chairman Ravi Menon, the MAS managing director and representatives from the various trade associations. Members are appointed for a two-year term.

"We have many good e-payment solutions in Singapore. We need to make them more interoperable and better integrate them with individual and business use cases so that more people will adopt e-payments," said Mr Menon in a press statement.

"The Payments Council brings together the various parties that can help achieve this. Our mission is to make e-payments simple, seamless and secure for all Singaporeans."

Besides developing cashless payments solutions such as PayNow and supporting the introduction and roll-out of unified point-of-sale terminals at merchants, the council will also introduce new payments legislation to safeguard consumer interests and pave the way for innovative payment ideas.

Since July 10, seven major retail banks in Singapore have offered PayNow, the peer-to-peer transfer service that makes its easy to split the bill or make home-tutor payments using mobile numbers. The round-the-clock service is free.