Singapore banks next week will launch a business-to-business version of the country's PayNow P2P payment system currently used by consumers for retail purchases.
PayNow Corporate enables corporations, businesses and government agencies to pay and receive funds instantly by linking a unique entity number to their Singapore bank account.
The PayNow app also operates through Singapore's QR codes, allowing users to generate their own QR codes for customers to scan and pay when using their existing mobile app.
The Association of Banks in Singapore, through support from seven local banks in the Southeast Asia country, launched the PayNow app for consumers in July of 2017. It was introduced as part of an initiative to cut back on the use of cash and checks in the country.
"Singapore's e-payments journey so far has been focused on the consumer in providing them with the tools to make e-payments and educating them about the benefits," Melvyn Low, head of global transaction banking at OCBC Bank, said in a press release. "But for e-payments to become pervasive, the next big step has to come from businesses. From the sustained, strong response to PayNow from our customers, we are confident that there will be a significant reduction in cash and check use."
OCBC Bank reported that nine of 10 new business customers pre-registered for the PayNow Corporate rollout since April. A survey of 200 small to midsize businesses conducted by the banks association found that two-thirds of those businesses expect to operate completely cashless by 2023, with nearly half of those citing 2020.
In late 2017, Singapore and Thailand agreed to link their e-payment networks — PayNow in Singapore and PromptPay in Thailand — as a way to further limit the need for cash and expand digital capabilities. Those discussions were considered preliminary and a timetable for the connection had not been established.