Understanding E-Payments


What are e-payments?

Many of us use some form of e-payments in our daily lives.

E-payments refer to all forms of payments through electronic or digital means, as opposed to cash or cheques which are a physical means of payment. Examples of e-payments include GIRO or FAST payments, debit or credit cards, PayNow, SGQR, e-wallets, and mobile payments.

E-payments in our lives

E-payments has added convenience in many aspects of our lives. For example, e-payments can be used for online shopping using credit cards or e-wallets, paying friends using PayNow after sharing a meal together and paying for train or bus rides with our mobile phones.


E-payments are safe and secure, unless we use it recklessly. For instance, you should not allow anyone else to access your payment accounts, or give away your passwords and account information to strangers. These should be kept secret, just as you safeguard your ATM PIN.


Make it a point to check payment details before you send money, and turn on notifications for transactions so that you can verify transactions promptly.

Find more tips on using e-payments safely in this article.

Types of e-payments services

PayNow is a real-time funds transfer service that allows you to pay another person or merchant without the need for their account details.

You only need to use the payee’s registered mobile number, NRIC/ FIN (for individuals), Unique Entity Number (UEN for businesses) or virtual payment address to make an instant payment.

You can also register for PayNow and receive payments instantly by providing your registered details (e.g. mobile number) to the payor.

PayNow allows customers of participating banks' e-wallet providers to register for the service. There is no ‘PayNow App’ as such and the service is accessed through the participating banks’ apps or e-wallet apps.

You may approach any of your preferred bank or e-wallet to find out more about how to use the service.

More information on PayNow can be found here.

SGQR is a unified standard for QR (quick response) payments in Singapore. It combines multiple QR codes into a single SGQR label, making QR payments simple for both consumers and merchants.

Consumers just need to look out for the SGQR label to see which payment options a merchant accepts, while merchants only need to display one SGQR label instead of many labels.

Many merchants now accept payments through SGQR. Payments using SGQR are made through e-wallet providers or other mobile payment apps accepted by the merchant.

To see which payment options a merchant accepts, look at the bottom of the SGQR label where the payment app icons are displayed. Some merchants accept payments from one or two payment providers, while others may accept more.

More information on SGQR can be found here.

Mobile payments using NFC (near field communication) technology are contactless payments using smartphones. Examples include Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, where users securely store their debit or credit card details on their mobile devices. The user does not need to carry his or her physical debit or credit cards to make payment.

Similar to how Visa PayWave or Mastercard PayPass works using physical cards, contactless “tap-and-go” payments using Apple Pay or Samsung Pay use the same NFC technology.

E-wallets are payment accounts that store e-money, which are often funded directly from bank accounts, or via debit or credit cards. Examples of popular e-wallets are GrabPay and Singtel Dash.

E-wallet providers enable their apps to scan QR codes displayed at merchants to facilitate payment transactions. Most of these QR codes displayed are SGQR labels.

Some major e-wallets today allow users to transfer funds instantly between bank accounts and e-wallets, and also with other e-wallets.

More information on e-wallets can be found here.

Payment Facilitator Apps are apps issued by payment service providers. Some examples are FavePay or Google Pay.

Unlike e-wallets, payment facilitator apps do not allow customers to load e-money into the apps. Instead, customers save their debit or credit card details on the apps, and payments are funded directly from these cards.

Like e-wallets, payment facilitator apps enable their apps to scan QR codes displayed at merchants to facilitate payment transactions. Most of these QR codes displayed are also SGQR labels.

Click on the image below to watch the e-pay okay video.

epayokay youtube thumbanail



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