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23 Jan 2019
Monetary Auth of Singapore
Suggestion View - 442
Introduce an e-wallet under the Association of Banks

One and a half years has passed since PM Lee announced the goal to use digital payment in his National Day Rally in 2017.

A lot of work and money has been put in by many parties to introduce digital payment. The actual usage remain low, except for payment for ride hailing apps.

There are too many platforms for digital payment. They do not talk to each other. Most of the wallet apps are too complicated.

To be a truly smart nation, we need to make digital payment a way of life. I like to suggest how this goal can be achieved.

a) Get the Association of Banks (ABS) to introduce a standard e-wallet (ABS wallet) that is supported by all the banks in Singapore.
b) The e-wallet app should have only a few basic functions, i.e. to top up and withdraw money from the connected bank account and to make payment and transfers.
c) There should be no cost to customers for paying through e-wallet
d) The fee to be paid by the payee should be 0.1% of the transacted amount
e) Allow large service providers, e.g. utility and telecom providers to register their e-wallet to receive payments.
f) Allow online websites and ride hailing apps to request a payment from an e-wallet. This is similar to getting a transaction from a credit or debit card.

The ABS wallet should be easy to use, similar to a physical wallet. The customer uses a mobile app to scan a QR code and make a payment to the other party. The customer can also selected a registered service provider and make a payment. 

I envisage that the ABS wallet will be so widely and commonly used that it will become the preferred mode of payment. 

Imagine the following situations:

a) The owner does not need to queue and withdraw cash from an ATM machine. He can use the app to transfer money from his connected bank account to the e-wallet
b) The owner can transfer money from the e-wallet to family members. Children without mobile phones can receive the money in a chip enabled card.
c)  The owner can scan the QR code of the merchant and enter the amount to be paid. The merchant see the payment on his mobile phone. There is no need to count notes and coins and give change.
d) The merchant can pay the suppliers using e-wallet and transfer money from the e-wallet to the bank account.

The use of the ABS wallet can be popularized widely by a decision of the govt to pay a future SG bonus to citizens through this e-wallet.

Just imagine. Our ABS wallet can be as well used as AliPay and WeChat Pay combined.

We have the chance to realize the vision of cashless payment in Singapore. We need the proper leadership and a practical approach towards its implementation.


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