MAS Launches Unified QR Code Payments System

Merchants will now be able to accept payments from 27 different service providers in one application

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Monday announced the launch of a new payments system. A statement released by the Southeast Asian regulator indicates that Singapore has become the first country in the world to create a unified payment QR code – the Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR).

For those of you scratching your head, wondering what a QR code is, it stands for ‘quick response code.’ These are the square-shaped bar-codes one often sees on advertisements, packaging or tickets.

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MAS, QR code
Scan this: an example of a QR code

In recent years, these codes have also been used to enable mobile payments. Generally, customers will have a specific application on their smartphone that allows them to scan QR codes.

A merchant making a sale will then generate a QR code that represents the price the customer has to pay. The customer will then scan that code with their smartphone application, and the payment will be charged to their account.

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MAS – Creating the Payments System of the Future?

In Singapore, this payment system has become so popular that there are now dozens of different companies offering it. As a result, merchants have had to have a corresponding number of applications to ensure they don’t miss out on any payments.

Fortunately for those merchants, the days of downloading reams of different payment applications should now be a thing of the past. That is because the SGQR launched by the MAS this Monday will bring a large number of them under one roof.

Instead of having multiple applications, merchants can use just one. Customers then go on this application, pick their QR code payment service provider and then scan their code with their own application to make the payment.

Currently, the SGQR has been adopted by 27 different payments providers. The MAS did not reveal if more were likely to join or whether they will be to able to join.

According to the MAS, merchants offering QR code payments will have their existing QR codes replaced by a single SGQR code in the next six months. The replacement process will start at the end of September with merchants in Singapore’s Central Business District.

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