Pay healthcare bills in Singapore by scanning universal QR code

SINGAPORE - Visitors to all public polyclinics, hospitals and specialist centres will be able to scan a QR code to pay their bills by the end of next year.

DBS Bank is helping Singapore's three public healthcare clusters - the National Healthcare Group (NHG), National University Health System (NUHS) and Singapore Health Services (SingHealth) - to adopt a universal QR code, called the Singapore Quick Response Code or SGQR, by the end of next year.

To phase in this method of digital payment, 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.

Consumers can then make payments simply by using their mobile phones to scan the SGQR code at the counter and type in the bill reference number. This means they can scan and pay with any banking apps, Grab app or Singtel Dash app when these payment modes are accepted by the healthcare institutions.

The QR code payment option is in addition to cash, credit cards or Nets payment modes currently available over the counter.

Currently, around one in five consumers pays his healthcare bills via cash or cheque, said DBS.

Said Mr Raof Latiff, head of digital, institutional banking  at 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-savvy 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 issuing cheques to make payment."

Mr Wong Soo Min, the group chief financial officer of 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."