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Association of Banks in Singapore announces service to enable nearly instant fund transfer using mobile number or NRIC/FIN

The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS[1]) announced that a new peer-to-peer funds transfer service called PayNow will be launched at 8.00 am on 10 July 2017. It will enable customers of the participating banks to send and receive Singapore Dollar funds from one bank to another through FAST (Fast and Secure Transfers), using just their mobile number or Singapore National Registration Identity Card/ Foreign Identification Number  (NRIC/FIN), almost instantly.

After logging into their bank account the sender will enter the recipient’s mobile number or NRIC/FIN and the amount to be transferred at the PayNow transfer screen, press enter and verify the name of the recipient. The sender won’t need to know the recipient’s bank and account number when doing fund transfers, making the process more convenient and efficient. The service will be available free to customers 24/7, 365 days.

It will be available to customers of seven participating banks - Citibank Singapore Limited, DBS Bank/POSB, HSBC, Maybank, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, and United Overseas Bank.

PayNow adopts the same high security standards established by the banking industry in Singapore for funds transfer including FAST. The sender will be able to see the recipient’s name before confirming the transfer.

To receive funds using PayNow, customers have to link their mobile number and/or Singapore NRIC/FIN to their bank account, by logging into to their bank’s existing internet banking platform or mobile banking app. The process involves SMS OTP (One-time password). This is a one-time registration step. 

In case, customers change their mobile numbers, they should immediately report it to their bank. Upon notification, the bank will automatically de-link the old mobile number from the bank account. Customers should then re-register the new mobile number with PayNow.

The press release from ABS advises that in the event of an erroneous transfer, the customer should call the mobile number that was used to send money to, and advise them of the erroneous transfer and request a return of the funds. Under Section 403 of the Penal Code, it is a criminal offence to use money that does not belong to the person. They can call the bank if there is no response from the unintended recipient.

PayNow would be an important step towards achieving a cashless economy in Singapore. E-payments is one of the selected focus areas under the Singapore government’s accelerated Smart Nation programme. In May, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) and Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) launched a pilot with four banks to enable people to use their registered profile on Singapore government’s MyInfo service to apply for new bank accounts. In the same month, Today newspaper reported that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and other agencies are working on to achieve a government aim for half the food and beverage (F&B) establishments to adopt digital services by 2020.

[1]ABS is a non-profit organisation that represents the interests of the commercial and investment banking community. As at 31 Jan 2016, membership comprised 154 local and foreign banks/ institutions and representative offices operating in Singapore. ABS works closely with the relevant government authorities towards the development of a sound financial system in Singapore. 

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