Printed in Straits Times Forum Page on 7 November
In spite of the technological advances, many people still write cheques to pay their bills, especially for the irregular payments. This manual mode of payment is inefficient, costly and time consuming.
I urge the Infocomm Development Authority and the Monetary Authority of Singapore to introduce a convenient way for the public to pay their bills electronically, and make it as simple as writing a physical cheque. This should be done through a common platform that serves all the banks, instead of asking each bank to develop its own application.
The payor should log into his bank account and write an e-cheque by indicating the party and amount to be paid, and details of the payment. If there is a mistake, the payor should be allowed to cancel the e-cheque within one day.
The payees should have the facility to log into the platform to view the details of the electronic payments that are credited to their accounts, similar to clearing their incoming physical mail. They can accept or reject the payment. For example, they may wish to reject a payment that does not have sufficient details to identify the transaction.
The use of a common platform will make the new system adopted more widely in a short time. It will also reduce the implementation cost of the participating banks.
The current form of internet banking was not designed to serve the needs of commercial organisations, which explains why so few organisations ask their customers to pay through internet banking. I believe that a new system, as described above, will overcome the current shortcomings.
Tan Kin Lian
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