Singapore ponders Paym-style payments platform

Singapore ponders Paym-style payments platform

Singapore is looking into the creation of a payments system similar to the UK's Paym that would let someone send money using only the recipient's mobile number, email address or social network account.

The all-in-one addressing system - which would mean senders would not need a recipient's bank account details - is being explored by banks and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the organisation's managing director, Ravi Menon, revealed during a panel discussion.

Menon says that the move would fit in with MAS's desire to boost interoperability within the industry as a way to promote innovation, arguing that common standards for payments systems would result in seamless transactions across a range of platforms.

With this in mind, the country is also working towards a unified POS terminal that can read all kinds of cards at retail and hospitality outlets.

Menon's remarks came during a discussion on how Singapore can harness the power, and manage the risks, of fintech. The island has been aggressively pushing itself as a major global hub for the fast growing industry - last week it opened a dedicated office designed to help startups set up in the country as a part of a S$225 million, five year plan to build a vibrant ecosystem for innovation.

Menon says that fintech is fundamentally changing the financial industry, and may well be its best hope for the future. He told the audience that MAS's job as the country's regulator is to adopt a risk-based approach to fintech innovation, not front-running but running alongside.

The watchdog does this by actively engaging with fintech firms and allowing them to experiment with new technologies in a safe environment. This will be boosted soon by the introduction of a "regulatory sandbox" where firms can experiment and launch products or services within controlled boundaries.

The all-in-one P2P payments platform and unified POS system are also part of MAS's plan to promote innovation, this time by enabling interoperability. Another aspect of this strategy will see the publication of open APIs, with MAS working with FIs on sharing aggregated data to improve market and risk analyses, forecasts and projections.

Comments: (4)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 06 April, 2016, 09:27Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

This seems like a bold move when the adoption rates in the UK have been so appalling.  "The number of Paym payments sent is almost doubling every six months, with 1.46m payments sent in the second half of 2015 compared to 774,628 in the first six months – an increase of 89%". When the registered base is 3.24 million as at Dec 31 2015 this means that even if there were no repeat payments to Paym accounts in H2 2015, a maximum of only 23% of registered Users were receiving a payment via Paym.... That is a truely attrocious adoption rate for a technology that launched in April 2014. 

Maybe in the UK a way to leverage Paym would have been if the Paym database was leveraged for the identity resolution of customers submitted for registration by 3 Party Service Providers as part of how to change those T's & C's :) It could have been a good way of increasing the overall security of the 3rd party registration process...... Whatever the case, it's clear that the original mandate and scope of Paym was porrly conceived, especially with PSD2 around the corner. It coudl have been so much more.  Let's just hope that Singapore take a much broader of the potential long-term valeu of such as service, looking at it from all angles...

Kunal Patel
Kunal Patel - 1E - London, United Kingdom 06 April, 2016, 09:51Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

This would be a great move for Singapore, P2P payments are extremely popular but mostly driven through banking applications as well as the telcos, rather than 3 party providers.  DBS PayLah for example is a popular choice amogst locals.  I believe Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) can learn the lessons from Paym's example in the UK.  I did use Paym in the UK through Nationwide, the concept was a good but as Mike Doyle above in his comment states, the original mandate and scope of Paym was porrly conceived.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 06 April, 2016, 13:40Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

For P2P to fly, complete the loop of payment instruments. Once received my money, there is nowhere to easily spend it today. Bring on a correlated POS and people will automatically get incentivised.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 06 April, 2016, 14:06Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It's interesting and very encouraging story. We as Messenger banking developers have implemented the all-in-one addressing system in our solution over one year ago. We got a lot of critic and ununderstanding when we did this. Nobody has believed it can be used in "real life". The UK example and Singapore willingnes to use the same apraoch clerly shows - this is the right way to the future banking!