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Cashless transactions to increase in Singapore by 2011

Computerworld Singapore writer | Dec. 2, 2009
More POS terminals will require US$11.56 million

SINGAPORE, 2 DECEMBER 2009 E-payment transactions in Singapore are predicted to increase in two years as 24,000 point-of-sales (POS) terminals are planned for deployment island-wide.

To increase the 5,000 contactless POS terminals by more than four times in 2011, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) sought industry participation in a Call-for-Collaboration (CFC).  

With the deployment of more POS terminals, the collaboration will expand the current use of the card system, which is compliant with Contactless e-Purse Application (CEPAS) or Singapore's specification for electronic smart money cards. Currently, CEPAS-compliant cards are used in the country's transportation sector.

Once CEPAS-compliant cards are deployed on a larger scale, the e-payment transactions are expected to increase to 94 million per year from various cash-based segments such as food courts, provision shops and convenience stores across the country.

Five companies were awarded the CFC to deploy more CEPAS-compliant POS terminals and bring the convenience of cashless transactions to more consumers and businesses. These companies are EZ-Link, Nera Telecommunications, Network for Electronic Transfers (Singapore) (NETS), PaymentLink and Way Systems Solutions.

The announcement was made by the ministry of information, communications and the arts (MICA) acting minister Lui Tuck Yew at IDA's Infocomm Industry Forum 2009 on 30 November 2009.

As part of our Next Generation e-Payments Programme that aims to provide convenience to both consumers and merchants, IDA and the five companies will be funding S$16 million [US$11.56 million] through this CFC to proliferate the deployment of contactless CEPAS POS terminals in various segments across Singapore by 2011, said IDA CEO Ronnie Tay.

Mobile payment

Tay added that the fund will spur adoption, effect a change in consumer habits and lay the infrastructure to support future innovative services such as Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled mobile payment.

There are more than 2,250 convenient top-up points available in MRT stations, bus interchanges, community centres, heartland and shopping malls island-wide, through channels such as passenger service counters, ticketing machines, AXS D-pay stations, DBS/POSB ATMs, UOB ATMs and iNETS kiosks.

Merchants accepting CEPAS payments would benefit from a reduction of up to 50 per cent in transaction fees, terminal rental waiver for at least one year and immediate access to a customer base bearing more than 5.9 million CEPAS cards.

Also, merchants can reduce administrative overheads and incidences of petty thefts with lower cash handling through increased e-payment usage.

Unlike the practice with credit and debit payment products, most of the POS terminals to be deployed under the CFC will accept 90 per cent of all CEPAS cards currently in circulation.

As the awarded acquirers forge business agreement with more card issuers over time, their POS terminals will be able to accept more or even all CEPAS cards.

 

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