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Singapore e-payment provider to debut contactless debit card

Melissa Chua | April 13, 2009
New card will allow stored value top-ups to be done at most payment terminals

SINGAPORE, 13 APRIL 2009 Singapore's electronics payment provider Network for Electronic Transfers (better known as NETS), has announced plans to launch a contactless stored value payment card which allows for automatic cash value top-ups.

The new card, which can be used to pay for road tolls, public transport fares, retail purchases and bills, is expected to provide greater convenience to consumers in Singapore who hold deposit accounts in DBS Bank, Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), United Overseas Bank (UOB) and Standard Chartered Bank.

NETS's current stored value card offering, the cashcard, is not contactless, does not allow for automatic top-ups, and cannot be used to pay for public transport.

Anytime, anywhere

According to NETS, the stored value of the new contactless card can be topped up, with money debited from the consumers' bank account, anytime a transaction is performed.

Top-ups can be performed at retail points with the entering of a personal identification number (or PIN). Consumers who wish to have their cards automatically topped up at other payment points, such as road gantries, will need to apply at their bank for the feature to be enabled.

Small value payments

The new contactless payment card will also be used for what the company terms small value payments', meaning payment amounts which fall below S$20 (US$13.18). Selected snack shops, food courts and hawker centres around the island have been equipped with the contactless payment terminals. Consumers need only enter a PIN in order for a transaction to be performed.

NETS is currently looking to sign up more retail outlets for such a service.


NETS CEO, Poh Mui Hoon, expects the new contactless card to capture about 50 per cent of the public transport fare payment market, currently dominated by competitor EZ-Link.

The new contactless payment card will go on trial in May, limited to a select group of consumers. A larger trial in July will determine when the card will become publicly available.


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