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Singapore to Adopt New Digital Payment System

As Singapore embarks on its journey to becoming a Smart Nation, e-invoicing has become increasingly common. However, payment processes remain a pain for many companies, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Now, a global payments firm made use of Infocomm Media Development Authority’s Open Innovation Platform (OIP) to ease the payment processes.

The new system automatically verifies e-invoices against other business records, such as purchasing and delivery orders and corporate bank account numbers, to detect fraud and mistakes before making payments. It also reminds users of upcoming and due payments.

Also, it is compatible with many other platforms, including procurement and enterprise resource planning solutions, so firms can unite it with their existing systems and move seamlessly from procurement to cash flow management to payment.

The OIP is a virtual platform that matches firms and organisations facing difficulties with others that can solve them. The company was partnered with a local e-commerce services start-up to develop this smart digital system that integrates billing and payment functions to enable businesses to send invoices and receive payments easily and quickly. The company saw the OIP as a great opportunity to partner with fintech companies on innovative payment solutions that bridge gaps and address challenges in the market.

The new digital payment system was inspired by the fact that for many SMEs in the country, their invoice management and payment process systems are not compatible with each other. Tedious processes such as having to verify and approve payments still must be carried out manually before a transaction cycle can be completed, taking up time and resources. It also means a longer wait before companies receive payment.

Many firms, especially SMEs, still rely on cash and cheques for payments. After a company generates an invoice, it takes an average of 57 days for it to receive payment. This could be even longer for cross-border transactions. As a leader in digital payments, the company aims to enable the movement of money, anywhere in the world, for everyone.

Over 6,000 SMEs have adopted it since it was launched in June last year. Furthermore, the local e-commerce services start-up who helped developed the new digital payment system will continue to tap the OIP to grow its business, especially with new features that will be added to the platform by mid-2021.

A smart discovery engine will analyse problem statements and recommend solvers with the relevant experience to improve the matching process and encourage more companies, from SMEs to multinational corporations, to co-create solutions.

Additionally, a virtual sandbox hosted on cloud infrastructure, with access to digital tools, reusable software assets, testbed environments and community partners, will speed up the development cycle of proofs-of-concept from months to weeks.

With these two new features, the OIP is expected to cater to a wider variety of innovation needs and facilitate hundreds of more matches between enterprises and solution providers.

Launched in 2018, the OIP seeks to accelerate digital innovation by matching the real business challenges of problem owners to tech solution providers. For each round of innovation calls, challenges are introduced to address issues faced by an individual organisation or a sector. In the wake of the pandemic, a new category has been added to address nationwide challenges that, once tackled, will allow Singapore to emerge stronger post-COVID.

To encourage participants to co-develop pioneering technologies and systems, the OIP has a structured process that covers ideation to commercialisation, as well as a facility for prototyping and other activities. So far, it has organised over 190 challenges, convened more than 10,000 problem solvers and initiated over 60 innovation projects, with many more in the pipeline.

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