QR code to support Singapore transition to cashless society, says GlobalData

Singapore has a well-developed payments market, which has been growing at a robust pace in past few years due to the country’s robust payment infrastructure. The well-developed POS infrastructure is complimented by QR code payment, which is now increasingly being preferred by consumers as a safer payment method, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

An analysis of GlobalData’s Payment Cards Analytics reveals the number of POS terminals in Singapore, which was 254,469 in 2021, to increase to 316,695 in 2024.

Nikhil Reddy, Banking and Payments Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Singapore has 44 POS terminals per 1,000 individuals in 2021, ­­­among the highest in the Asia-Pacific region. The government is also playing its part to drive the acceptance of electronic payments among merchants in Singapore.”

Productivity Solution Grant is an initiative through which government provides local businesses with subsidy for POS installation. The subsidy was raised from 70% to 80% between April 2020 and March 2022 to promote cashless payment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

To encourage digital payments among smaller businesses including hawkers, the government is focusing to promote QR-based payments. The launch of unified QR code called Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR) in September 2018 by the Monetary Authority of Singapore in collaboration with Infocomm Media Development Authority has further improved the country’s payments ecosystem. SGQR allows merchants to save significant amount in payment acceptance costs, by eliminating the need to invest in separate QR code from each provider or install a traditional POS terminal.

In June 2020, ‘Hawkers Go Digital Programme’ was launched to promote SGQR adoption among hawkers. As a part of this, the government is bearing transaction fees on SGQR payments till 31 December 2023. In January 2021, 1.2 million transactions were carried out via SGQR, an increase of four times since its launch in June 2020.

Mr Reddy concludes: “Singapore merchants are increasingly turning to digital payments amid COVID-19. The outbreak has accelerated adoption of digital payments among smaller merchants as well, thereby supporting Singapore government’s vision to become a ‘less-cash’ society.”

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