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Why Developed Economies are Benefiting from QR Payments?

It was long believed that developed economies firmly rooted in the credit and debit card tap-and-pay ecosystem would be difficult to change. Due to their perceived insecurity and clumsiness, QR code payments were limited to developing nations. But a subtle revolution is taking place that is upending this presumption.

Singapore is one example. Once a pioneer in contactless payments, this tech-savvy country has seen a sharp decline in contactless payments in favor of QR code-based transactions, especially those that use account-to-account (A2A) transfers like Direct Debit (SG QR) or PayNow.

The Development of Direct Bank Debit and QR Code Payments

A number of important variables have fueled Singapore's transition to a cashless society. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) changed the game in 2018 with the introduction of the Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR). It is now simpler for customers and businesses to accept QR code payments thanks to this single label that combines 27 distinct payment QR codes into one uniform standard.

It is clear that QR code payments are widely used; according to a 2021 Statista poll, 36% of Singaporean respondents had tried this payment method. In addition, the PayNow real-time payment system, which makes it easy to move money between banks, has become very popular. By 2020, the number of individual registrations will have increased by 1.6 million, and the number of company registrations will have doubled.

Numbers Tell a Story

The data presents an unambiguous picture. A 2023 Statista research states that the value of QR code-based mobile payments in Singapore reached an extraordinary, making up more than 70% of all mobile payments made in the nation. It is anticipated that this trend will continue, with a market share expected to surpass 80% by 2025.

What’s Driving the Change?

So, what’s behind Singapore’s smooth move away from the traditional tap-and-pay system? Let’s break it down:

  • Government Push: The Singaporean government has been super proactive in pushing digital payments. They’ve rolled out initiatives like SGQR and developed the PayNow system. These steps have really set the stage for people to adopt new ways of paying.
  • What People Want: Singaporeans have been quick to hop on the digital payment bandwagon. Over 95% prefer using credit and debit cards, and a solid 82% are all about contactless cards for their transactions. The convenience and ease of these methods have been major factors in this shift.
  • Tech Savvy Nation: Singapore is known for being tech-forward. With 75% of the population using the internet and the early adoption of 5G technology, the country has seamlessly integrated new payment technologies like QR codes and digital wallets into everyday life.

Implications and Opportunities

The changing landscape of payments in Singapore brings some exciting opportunities and important considerations for the industry:

Industry Transformation

The surge in QR payments is reshaping the scene in several ways:

  • Adapting POS Systems: Traditional point-of-sale (POS) systems will need to evolve to include QR code scanning capabilities effortlessly.

  • Boosting Security: As QR payments become more common, ensuring strong security measures will be key to maintaining consumer trust.

Let's talk about the amazing things on the horizon!

This shift is opening up a world of opportunities for everyone involved:

1. More Competition: With the payments ecosystem now more accessible, non-bank financial institutions (NFIs) are jumping in. This means more competition, which could lead to price wars and aggressive marketing strategies.

2. Better Convenience: Consumers now have more payment options than ever before. They can use their favorite payment apps, and businesses can offer a variety of payment methods to meet customer preferences.

3. Great Prospects for Fintech Firms: The move towards QR code payments and direct bank-to-bank transfers is a goldmine for fintech companies. There's a huge opportunity to create innovative solutions and capture a big slice of Singapore's growing digital payments market.

The Bottom Line

Singapore shows us that even advanced economies can't resist the appeal of QR payments. With the focus on convenience, saving money, and making finance accessible for everyone, QR code payments are set to transform how we pay digitally, even in well-established markets.


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Abhinav Paliwal

Abhinav Paliwal


PayNet Systems- A Neo Banking Software Platform

Member since

26 May 2023



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