Mobile Payments

SWIFT Pre-Validates, Singapore Eyes Mobile Payments Push

Amid an embrace of mobile payments and a push toward consumer choice, sometimes payments infrastructure must change.

This week, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said it has launched SGQR (short for the Singapore Quick Response Code), billed as a single label that combines several QR payment codes. The launch will cover Singapore over the next six months.

As reported earlier in the week, SGQR was developed with the input of an industry task force led in part by the monetary authority and the Infocom Media Development Authority.  Other task force members included American Express, Alipay, Mastercard and Tencent, as only a partial reading of the roster.

“We designed an ecosystem that is both competitive and interoperable, planned it around the existing financial system and built up the necessary infrastructure and features to support that desired outcome,” said Ong Ye Kung, MAS board member and education minister, in a speech.

He noted that the launch is also open to non-bank mobile providers, such as FinTechs. The SGQR focuses on mobile payments. On the merchant side of the transaction, merchants need only display a single SGQR label that shows what electronic payments are accepted, and consumers need only choose among what is available and opt to pay. In terms of infrastructure, no terminal is needed, and in terms of reach, QR payment options both domestic and international are streamlined into the label.

As noted by Regulation Asia, SGQR is being adopted by 27 payment schemes across the nation.

Separately, SWIFT said it is launching a pre-validation service that will let customers discover and fix the errors that might delay payment messages before they are sent to recipients. That comes as more than 50 percent of SWIFT gpi payments are credited to beneficiaries in less than 30 minutes, and where many transactions within that subset are credited in a few seconds, but a significant number of the remaining tally are delayed in the face of incorrect or insufficient data, ranging from beneficiary info to compliance data.

That pre-validation service will also enable customers to get upfront fee pricing.

The new gpi service is tied to secure APIs, predictive analysis and artificial intelligence. Using those conduits, the gpi will pre-validate and flag potential issues. SWIFT stated at the announcement of the pre-validation services that it had entered into initial stage talks with banks, and that the fee structure is based on routing specifics of the message. The upshot, said SWIFT, is predictability on costs.

Terminals and Buttons Amid Individual Company Announcements

In individual company news, Global Payments said earlier in the week that its U.S. payments and payroll business, Heartland, has partnered with Ingenico Group to debut new payments hardware in the form of a terminal geared toward SMB customers. The company said via release that the terminal also includes APIs and end-to-end encryption support.

Separately, PayPal has brought its Smart Buttons to the global stage, having already come to market in the United States. As noted in this space earlier in the week, the launch more than two months ago in the United States and the current global push seek to give a tailored checkout experience to consumers, presenting their preferred payment methods. As told to PYMNTS’ Karen Webster by PayPal COO Bill Ready in an interview, the choices span in-house methods that include PayPal, Venmo and PayPal Credit, but also take into account local and alternative payment methods.

Improved payments infrastructure and a streamlined checkout experience can indeed boost the fortunes of merchants. Per the PYMNTS Checkout Conversion Index, it is estimated that as much as $236 billion annually is lost that could have been rung up as potential sales.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.