PayNow expanding scope to include businesses

Seven banks will be part of PayNow Corporate - which will also involve the government - from Aug 13

Singapore

FROM August 13, businesses will be able to send and receive funds from customers and other businesses through peer-to-peer transfer service PayNow, the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) announced on Wednesday.

As part of Singapore's Smart Nation drive to adopt digital payments, PayNow Corporate will let business owners and the government link their unique entity numbers to local bank accounts and receive payments instantaneously, without revealing details such as their actual account numbers.

Customers can also opt to scan merchant or individual Quick Response (QR) codes to make transfers, as PayNow Corporate will be included in the Singapore QR code system.

The seven participating banks on PayNow Corporate are Citibank, DBS, HSBC, Maybank, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered and UOB.

READ MORE: Singapore can use less cash and be cheque-free by 2025: Ong Ye Kung

Bank representatives said that PayNow Corporate will increase efficiency for businesses in numerous ways, such as reducing cash flow and human error in processing payments and cheques.

OCBC Bank's head of global transaction banking Melvyn Low noted: "Already, we have seen a reduction in corporate cheque usage with the increasing popularity of e-payments over the years, and PayNow Corporate will help drive cheque volumes down even faster."

"It means cost savings in terms of paperwork, improved efficiencies with regard to data maintenance and of course a much better customer experience," said Jennifer Doherty, HSBC Asia head of innovation, global liquidity and cash management.

Navinder Duggal, group head of cash product management at DBS Bank, said: "The speed and convenience of receiving payments should benefit SMEs, startups and those in the gig economy the most as it will ease their cash flow and enable them to collect and make payments more efficiently."

Besides providing immediate benefits of reduced costs and increased efficiency for businesses, PayNow Corporate will encourage businesses to digitise their payments leading up to the launch of a national e-invoicing platform announced at this year's Budget, said Kurt Wee, president of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises.

"PayNow Corporate will facilitate a more cashless, cheque-less system, and later on, the platform will have an even bigger impact on the behaviour of the ecosystem," he said.