Singapore's Monetary Authority Trials Interoperable QR Code Scheme

Published 6 months ago

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has initiated a proof of concept (POC) for an interoperable Singapore Quick Response Code Scheme (SGQR+). The trial, scheduled to run from 1 to 30 November 2023, aims to examine if merchants in Singapore can accept QR payments from various payment schemes via a single financial institution.

A New Leap in QR Payments

The SGQR was first introduced in 2018, successfully consolidating multiple payment QR codes into a single SGQR label. However, for merchants to accept varying payment schemes, they must uphold commercial relationships with different financial institutions. This current system restricts consumers and tourists to use only their preferred payment applications if the merchant maintains a commercial relationship with the corresponding financial institution.

The POC for SGQR+ is set to change this by integrating 23 payment schemes over more than 1,000 merchant acceptance points. These points are located at the Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) venue and in the Changi district.

Two Tracks, Two Technology Options

The POC will examine two different technology options through two separate tracks. Track I, led by the Liquid Group, will operate a switch that facilitates payments between the financial institution serving the merchant and the one serving the consumer. Consumers can also utilize payment applications linked with credit cards to scan and pay at Liquid Group’s participating merchants.

On the other hand, Track II, steered by Nets, will enable consumers to scan and pay at Nets’ participating merchants using a wide range of local and foreign payment schemes. This technology is already accessible to merchants participating in the Government-subsidised Hawkers Go Digital programme. The POC aims to evaluate the commercial viability of this deployment across other merchant segments.

Banking Computer Services Pte Ltd, which operates the SGQR Central Repository, will oversee the POC and offer technical support to the participants.

Towards a QR Payments Hub

The chief fintech officer of MAS, Sopnendu Mohanty, expressed optimism about the SGQR+, stating, “It will streamline payment acceptance for merchants and significantly increase the number of merchant acceptance points for both local and foreign consumers to use their preferred e-wallet or banking application.” He sees the POC launch as a stepping stone for Singapore to emerge as a global leader in QR payments and potentially a QR payments hub.