This article was originally published on 27 December 2018 and updated to reflect new information. Additional reporting by Angela Koo.
In support of Singapore’s efforts to become a cashless society, many solutions have emerged, including mobile wallets, a standardised QR code format, and even a common platform for conveniently making and receiving cashless payments across banks.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the move to cashless payment. According to the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), there has been over 4.9 million PayNow registrations, as of 3 Jan 2021. These include mobile number, NRIC/FIN and UEN registrations.
If you haven’t yet set-up PayNow functionality for your bank account, here are some good reasons why you should get yourself registered today.
Watch: Is It Possible To Live Cashlessly In Singapore?
What Is PayNow?
PayNow is a peer-to-peer fund transfer service launched by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) on 10 July 2017. It allows users to transfer funds from one bank account to another in Singapore through FAST simply by entering a mobile number or Singapore NRIC/FIN. The service is free to retail customers.
There are currently nine participating banks and three non-financial institutions in Singapore:
– Bank of China
– DBS Bank/POSB
– OCBC Bank
– Standard Chartered Bank
– United Overseas Bank
– Singtel Dash
Read Also: Why Is The Singapore Government So Adamant About Going Cashless?
How Can You Register For PayNow?
You can activate PayNow functionality by visiting your chosen bank’s website and registering. Once you do so, your mobile number and/or Singapore NRIC/FIN will be linked to the bank account you specify for making and receiving payments. You do not need to set up the PayNow service to transfer funds, but registering is required to receive funds from another party.
PayNow is also extended to businesses, Singapore government agencies, associations and societies on 13 August 2018. Known as PayNow Corporate, these entitles can pay and receive funds by linking their Singapore-issued Unique Entity Number (UEN) to their Singapore bank account.
Read Also: Beginners’ Guide To Cashless Payment Platforms In Singapore
Advantages Of Registering For PayNow
# 1 Conveniently Send And Receive Money
Sending money via PayNow can be done almost instantly to anyone who has set up the service. Most of us have mobile numbers of our families, friends and colleagues so it is a convenient way to transfer money to them. This eliminates the need to get bank account details, which is a sensitive piece of personal information.
It can come in handy for occasions such as repaying someone who has paid for a restaurant bill on your behalf or paying someone for an item on Carousell.
# 2 More Secure Funds Transfer
In a typical bank transfer, you need to enter the bank account number of the recipient. Since there is no way of checking if the bank account belongs to the right payee, there may be instances where the money ends up going to the wrong party. When that happens, it is troublesome to retrieve back your funds and there is a slight chance you may not even get it back.
This is less likely to happen with PayNow since the registered display name will show up before you initiate the transfer. If you intend to send money to your friend and realise that the display name is not who you expect, you can cancel the transfer.
# 3 Faster Payout From Government Agencies and Businesses
Receiving funds from certain Government agencies and businesses can be faster if you utilise the PayNow service.
The SG Bonus given to Singaporeans in 2018 had PayNow as one of the payout option, alongside regular bank transfers and cheques. Citizens who have registered their NRIC on PayNow had received the SG Bonus on 30 November 2018, which was 10 days earlier than direct bank crediting and 20 days earlier than cheque payment.
In addition, CPF members over 55 years old can also receive their lump sum withdrawal using PayNow within the same day rather than the usual turnaround time of 5 working days.
Businesses such as insurance companies have also begun to use PayNow for delivery of benefits to policyholders. For example, FWD has tied up with DBS Bank for customers who wish to receive payouts via PayNow. This replaces payouts using cheques, which may lead to unnecessary delays.
More merchants are also offering the ability to pay with SGQR / PayNow QR where you can simply scan a QR code to make payment.
#4 Seamless Transfer With Thailand’s PromptPay
As of 29 April 2021, Singapore’s PayNow system is linked up with Thailand’s equivalent PromptPay. enabling retail customers of participating banks from both countries to securely perform cross-border fund transfers using only mobile numbers.
This means that instead of using wire transfers or remittance services, you can easily send money to your friend in Thailand using their mobile number.
Currently, this is limited to customers who have registered their PayNow accounts with 3 Singapore banks (DBS, OCBC, UOB) and PromptPay users of 4 Thai banks (BBL, KBANK, KTB, SCB). The daily transaction limit is capped at S$1,000 or THB25,000.
Read Also: A Cashless Future: Why Our Children Will Learn The Value Of Money Differently, And Why That’s Okay
Sign Up For PayNow Today
Becoming less reliant on cash is inevitable, so it makes sense to make the transition as soon as possible. In addition to becoming more future-ready, you also enjoy greater convenience, enhanced security, and better connectivity with businesses and government entities.
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