Electronic transfers

Budget debate: New digital tool GovWallet helps government deliver payments to those without bank accounts or smartphones

SINGAPORE – A new digital tool will make it easy for citizens to receive government payments, even if they don’t have a bank account or a smartphone.

Officially unveiled on Wednesday March 2, the tool, dubbed GovWallet, allows citizens to obtain payments at selected ATMs by scanning their faces.

Another feature of GovWallet allows payments to be received through mobile applications such as the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) LifeSG application which gives users access to different government services.

GovWallet, which was also developed by GovTech, is expected to soon allow people to use payments to make Net payments in stores.

The new tool was announced by the Minister in charge of the Smart Nation and Cybersecurity Joséphine Teo during the debate on the Prime Minister’s budget.

GovTech developed GovWallet in part to help government agencies make payments to people who don’t have a bank account.

One example is the GovCash service announced by the board of the Central Provident Fund (CPF) on February 21. It was gradually rolled out from November last year.

The service is powered by GovWallet technology and allows people to withdraw government cash payments from 500 OCBC ATMs, even if they don’t have an account at any bank. The process includes steps to verify the identity of those making the withdrawals, such as face scanning.

Payments that can be withdrawn in this way include Work Income Supplement, Work Special Payment, and Training Engagement Reward.

The ATM payout also means that people who are less tech-savvy and don’t have smartphones have a way to receive payments.

Another benefit of GovWallet is that by issuing payments through ATMs or apps without using paper vouchers, there is no hassle of dispensing and collecting physical vouchers.

“What used to require multiple steps and even a visit to a service touchpoint can now be done anytime, anywhere,” GovTech said, referring to how people collected payments in the past. .

The Smart Nation Digital Government Group, of which GovTech is a part, said GovWallet was developed by bringing together various digital components such as identity management and payments, so that other agencies could integrate GovWallet functions into new or existing applications without creating their own.

“This, in turn, reduces duplication of development efforts and costs within government,” the group added.

In addition to LifeSG, GovTech said GovWallet can be easily integrated with existing government mobile apps, such as the Health Promotion Board’s Singpass and Healthy 365.

No confirmation on Healthy 365 using GovWallet has been given, but the app allows users to redeem e-vouchers based on the number of steps they have taken.

As for other agencies using GovWallet, GovTech said the technology “has sparked the interest of many organizations for use in household and social assistance programs, sector-specific relief programs, and even recognition programs. staff”.

The Smart Nation Digital Government Group added that “there is no single tool that meets all of our digital needs” and that it is working with various agencies to identify people’s pain points and develop digital tools to address them. to different needs.

For example, a technology tool called RedeemSG has been used for the disbursement of CDC vouchers with fixed denominations, as it allows less tech-savvy people to print digital vouchers to use.

This feature is not available in GovWallet which leverages an existing pool of merchants already on electronic payment systems like PayNow or, in the future, Nets.

Users can enter the amount they wish to spend at these merchants.

Currently, GovWallet allows government payments to be used to make payments at the 164,000 merchants that accept PayNow bank transfers through apps like LifeSG. Merchants include e-commerce platforms like Shopee and Lazada, and charities like Giving.sg

Payments can be made by opening the LifeSG app and scanning an SGQR code.

With GovWallet expanding to the Nets, people will have more options for how they want to use payments, with 42,000 merchants now on the payment system.

Although the list of participating merchants and the date Nets will be included are not immediately known, Nets card payments are now accepted at many retailers, restaurants and healthcare facilities.

Ms Teo, who is also the Minister of Communications and Information, highlighted on Wednesday how the GovWallet is used to issue payments to the national military.

Since November last year, the Department of Defense has used GovWallet to pay out cash recognition benefits to 35,000 NSmen through the LifeSG app.

GovWallet is one of many examples Ms Teo cited of Singapore’s smart nation vision of going cashless and using electronic payments.

She noted that in 2017, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was looking forward to paying for his next meal at a hawker center with PayNow.

Today, more than half of street vendors have adopted electronic payments. More than $200 million in PayNow transactions were made every day last year, Ms Teo said.