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New mobile money transfer technology being developed

Singapore is exploring a new plan to enable money transfers using only mobile phone numbers. Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) MD Ravi Menon told the concluding session of Sibos that banks involved in Fast and Secure Transfers (Fast) are studying a ‘mobile addressing system’ for the service, which was launched in March last year to allow near-instant interbank fund transfers and payments. This means a person will be able to make payments through Fast as long as he knows the payee’s mobile number, Menon said. He also said the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) aims to standardize retail POS terminals. The vision is to have a POS – a single terminal, preferably mobile, that can read all kinds of cards, he added. If implemented, the new Fast mobile system would greatly streamline digital transfer services. Several apps – DBS Bank’s PayLah, OCBC’s Pay Anyone and United Overseas Bank’s Mobile Cash – have been rolled out by banks in Singapore to allow a user to transfer money to another using a mobile number, but these apps typically still require set-up and account information. ABS director Ong-Ang Ai Boon said five banks, including the three local ones, started initial discussions on the concept in September. The whole thing is still in a very nascent state, she said. The new service is likely to involve a central registry pegging phone numbers to accounts. Menon also mentioned that the banking industry may go one step further and develop an all-in-one addressing system – which would mean “being able to pay someone through Fast using also the payee’s e-mail address, social network or other proxies.

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