Singapore’s New QR Code Means Boost for Mobile Payments

September 21, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Quick response (QR) codes have been part of the mobile payments landscape for a long time now, and with good reason. QR codes make an excellent user interface, and allow businesses an easier way to incorporate mobile payments into their operations. There’s been something of an issue in lack of standardization, though, and that’s a point that the Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR) system is looking to help with.

The SGQR, a development of a task force populated by elements of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Infocomm Media Development Authority, is now available in the country and represents a first of its kind effort worldwide. The SGQR system works with 27 different payment systems that work in the region, including GrabPay, Liquid Pay, and Singtel DASH, among others.

SGQR will roll out over the next six months, reports note, and users will have access to secure payments that move with sufficient speed to be market-friendly. Retailers, meanwhile, need only display one kind of QR code to allow for a wider range of mobile payments options than before, which means that they can consolidate current offerings or have a much easier means to walk into the market.

A standardized QR code isn’t a terrible idea. After all, it allows merchants to put out just one code and allow customers access to 27 different schemes, possibly more if any others come on board down the line. It smooths access, and improves the customer experience. Yet there may be a greater reason that this is taking place in Singapore, specially, the fact that Singapore has been described as a socialist democracy with lots of authoritarian controls. The Singaporean government can dictate large parts of the economy, by some reports, which might well be just what the environment needs to consolidate 27 different mobile payment schemes into one QR code.

This works well for Singapore, but if it can work anywhere else is a shaky possibility. Still, for the time being, Singapore may be on to something here, and may have produced a method to get QR codes—and mobile payments—into more businesses simply and effectively.