Pay Now Extends to Businesses
PayNow is all set to roll out its business to business and business to consumer or consumer to business versions of its popular peer to peer fund transfer service. Known as PayNow Corporate, the payment service will be extended to businesses and public agencies by August, 2018. Till now, PayNow has been exclusively available to individuals or consumers transferring funds to other individuals or consumers. The extension of this service to include businesses comes at a time when the government is trying to promote its Smart Nation program.
PayNow Corporate will allow businesses to pay consumers or other businesses. It will also allow businesses to receive funds or payments from consumers. Most experts estimate that there will be more transactions from consumers to businesses than businesses to businesses or businesses to consumers. Businesses may still prefer to pay other businesses, for instance vendors and suppliers, through traditional banking. Businesses may also still prefer to issue refunds or pay its consumers, be it cash backs or cash gifts, through traditional channels. PayNow Corporate may become the digital substitute of credit cards and debit cards, with the potential of also replacing internet banking.
PayNow Corporate will be using the existing banking system. Payments made through PayNow Corporate will directly reflect in the bank account of the recipient. The payers too can use their own existing bank account as the source of the funds. Presently, PayNow is supported by seven banks including Citibank Singapore, HSBC, DBS Bank/POSB, Maybank, Standard Chartered Bank, United Overseas Bank and OCBC Bank. The new service will be powered by prevailing payment mechanisms including Giro and Fast.
All businesses that wish to get paid through PayNow Corporate will have to link their current bank accounts with the Unique Entry Numbers. These UENs or Unique Entry Numbers will allow consumers to directly make payments to the bank accounts of the respective businesses. This is not very different from consumers linking their mobile numbers with their existing bank accounts to receive payments or funds.
There are certain grey areas that need to be shed light upon. Consumers will not be charged any fee for using PayNow Corporate. They can make payments at stores and online. This works better than some credit cards and debit cards that may have fees involved. However, PayNow Corporate is unlikely to have any rewards for consumers making payments. Hence, any credit card or debit card with a worthwhile rewards program may still be the preferred mode of payment for some consumers. Businesses may be charged a fee by their banks for using PayNow Corporate, albeit this is still in the realm of ambiguity. Any unreasonable fee may not be acceptable to businesses and this may defeat the whole objective of the Smart Nation program. There may not be any hiccups in transition as consumers as well as many businesses are already aware of how PayNow works and systems such as Fast or Giro are well established. Businesses can display their Unique Entry Numbers at the payment counters to facilitate easy transactions.
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