Singapore

Asia Pacific

With two established IP schemes in place, a wide range of initiation methods and 45% YOY growth, Singapore is well on its way to becoming an established IP market.

Its first scheme, Fast and Secure Transfers (FAST), launched in 2014. FAST enables retail and corporate customers of participating banks to transfer funds 24/7/365, and can be accessed via banks’ internet banking services — with a maximum transaction limit of S$200,000.

Singapore’s second scheme, PayNow, launched in 2017. It is a P2P instant fund transfer service built on the FAST infrastructure, and allows users to transfer funds from one bank account to another using a mobile number or National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) number, though transaction limits are consistent with FAST. As of 2018, businesses have access to PayNow Corporate, which empowers them to pay and receive funds in domestic currencies.

Timeline

MARKET DEVELOPMENT

ACCEPTANCE
  • Consumers
  • Banks
  • Merchants
  • Billers

TOTAL PARTICIPANTS

24

Population banking level

4.5

Number of debit, credit and charge cards per adult

181

Index to global average

F

Fully banked

Key statistics

2014

IP launch year

Immediate payments types

Single instance, bulk payments, future-dated

Initiation & authorization

Bank account, mobile number, QR code, national identity number, PayNow unique number, card

ISO 20022

Message standard

Transactions

86M

2019

188M

2024f

16.9%

F5 Yr CAGR

57%

% of adults who have a mobile wallet and have used it in the past year

Share of volumes by payments instrument

Transactions

2019
2024

Spend (USD)

2019
2024
  • Paper-based payments
  • Electronic payments
  • Immediate payments

Immediate payments volume and its share in overall NON-PAPER-BASED transactions, 2014-24f

% of total electronic payments transaction volume

Insight

Singapore’s citizens are highly reliant on debit, credit and charge cards, with an average of 4.5 cards per adult. This can often be a barrier to IP adoption, as there’s little motivation to change — but Singaporeans seem open to adopting new technology and changing payment behaviors.

Case in point, mobile wallet usage has grown significantly in recent years, more than quadrupling in the period from 2014 to 2019. This, combined with IP integration in mobile wallets as of 2017, means Singapore experienced rapid IP growth in the period from 2017 to 2020.

In the coming years, it’s likely IP will continue its upward growth trajectory. It is expected to cannibalize paper-based payments, supplanting cash and checks as the go-to payment for those typical use cases. And with both consumers and corporates benefitting from access to so many different initiation and authorization methods, IP is not only readily available but also extremely convenient.

ACI’s take

Singapore has already seen impressive IP growth, but there are certainly factors which might drive this further. Historically, a lack of central bank mandate has kept PayNow membership to a limited group, and this understandably has impact on volumes. Lack of mandate can also lead to inconsistency in availability of services across the banks and financial institutions, which inhibits the development of a rich ecosystem of fintechs and integrated services, so this needs to be addressed.

As we’ve seen elsewhere in the world, involvement in a pan-regional scheme may also play an important role. Singapore’s involvement in a cross-border payments initiative with ASEAN IP schemes will drive IP growth through adoption of different payment types, particularly in the corporate sector. Singaporean institutions should seek inspiration from their Nordic counterparts, to understand how cross-border initiatives can drive commerce and reduce overhead within the banks.

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