Reply to Parliamentary Question on prevalence use of cashless payment platforms and number of scam cases involving Scan and Pay transactions
QUESTION NO 3573
NOTICE PAPER 1435 OF 2022
FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 20 October 2022
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Gan Thiam Poh, MP, Ang Mo Kio GRC
To ask the Prime Minister (a) how many Singaporeans and permanent residents have registered for PayNow, Scan and Pay or similar cashless payment platforms that are currently available in the market; (b) what is the average percentage use of each of these platforms since their launch; (c) how many scam cases involving Scan and Pay transactions have been reported to-date; and (d) what are the measures taken to prevent perpetrators from victimising Scan and Pay users.
Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:
1. There are now nearly 5.5 million bank accounts registered with PayNow. Of these, 3 million are linked to mobile phone numbers, 2 million linked to NRIC numbers, and half a million linked to Foreign Identification Numbers (FINs). Usage of PayNow, including payments to merchants and businesses, reached S$46 billion in 2021.
2. SGQR is the primary means for Scan and Pay to merchants in Singapore. Launched by MAS and IMDA in 2018, it is the world’s first standard for a unified payment QR code, allowing multiple payment schemes to be combined into a single SGQR label. SGQR’s participating payment schemes include widely used schemes such as PayNow, Dash, FavePay, and GrabPay. PayNow is the top payment scheme in SGQR and is accepted in more than half of the total SGQR labels in use island-wide.
3. The adoption of SGQR has helped to make e-payments safer for merchants who only need to maintain a single SGQR label and guard it against tampering. Currently, more than 210,000 merchants operating across various service industries, including retail stores in shopping malls and food stalls at hawker centres, offer SGQR as a means of payment acceptance. This accounts for over 90% of merchants in Singapore.
4. The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has been monitoring scam cases where fake payment QR codes were generated to divert payments meant for legitimate merchants. There have also been cases where legitimate merchants were defrauded by persons who were meant to make Scan and Pay transactions but did not do so. Based on data provided by the SPF, both scam types are not prevalent. From 2020 to the first half of 2022, there were a total of 20 cases reported.
5. MAS has stepped up efforts to educate both consumers and merchants on using e-payments safely. In addition to general e-payment consumer guides on the MoneySense website, the MAS webpage on SGQR contains safety practices for consumers. Consumers should check the merchant’s name on their payment app against the name displayed on the SGQR label after scanning the QR code to make sure that they are paying the intended merchant. The SGQR membership rules also require its merchant acquirers to educate merchants on how to verify payments received through the SGQR label and to protect the label against potential fraud.
6. Under the “Seniors Go Digital” programme, less digitally savvy individuals, including seniors, are trained in basic digital skills such as transacting online and making e-payments. Seniors are also taught about cyber risks and threats, and how to keep themselves safe online. This is done through 1-to-1 lessons at SG Digital community hubs located in selected community clubs and public libraries around the island.
7. MAS continues to work closely with the industry and other government agencies to review and enhance the suite of anti-scam measures, including scams committed via Scan and Pay mode. Any persons found involved in scams and frauds will be dealt with firmly in accordance with the law. Consumers should remain vigilant to ensure they are making payments to the intended merchants.