Seven banks to allow NETS QR code payments at hawker centres, food stalls in Singapore

Customers of seven banks here will progressively be able to pay for their purchases at hawker centres and other food stalls using NETS QR code payments. — TODAY pic
Customers of seven banks here will progressively be able to pay for their purchases at hawker centres and other food stalls using NETS QR code payments. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Nov 20 — In a major push for electronic payments here, customers of seven banks here will progressively be able to pay for their purchases at hawker centres and other food stalls using NETS QR code payments.

It will be the first step towards a nationwide digital payment system to be rolled out by the banks, in partnership with NETS. By the middle of next year, NETS will also aim to enable all its 100,000 payment terminals with QR code capability, said NETS CEO Jeffrey Goh in a media briefing today. Currently, 30,000 acceptance points already have it.

The seven banks are DBS/POSB, OCBC Bank, UOB, HSBC, Maybank, Standard Chartered Bank and Citibank.

Currently, more than 600 stalls across 20 hawker centres can accept QR code payments. NETS will target the rest of the 100 hawker centres in Singapore. It will also look to expand the system to other small businesses in the heartlands, which currently only accept cash payments.

To make electronic payments more attractive, transaction and other fees for hawkers will be waived for the next three years.

For now, consumers will be able to use the NetsPay mobile app or the banking apps of the three local banks — DBS, OCBC and UOB.

Nets and the three banks will be investing about US$20 million in this QR code initiative over the next three years. 

The four foreign banks will enable QR code payments soon, and when this is done, customers can use the banks’ apps or the NetsPay one, which was launched about a month ago.

NETS is also looking to form partnerships with other countries in a bid to enable Singaporeans to pay with QR codes via their own bank or NetsPay apps. China and Indonesia are among the countries being targeted.

At today’s briefing, Nets chairman Tan Su Shan said: “Nets and the Singapore banks support our national agenda to build a Smart Nation powered by a smart national e-payments solution. With the myriad digital payments choices available today, consumers will be looking for one that is ubiquitous, simple and safe.”

The push for digital payments has gathered pace in recent months, after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted cashless payments as a key step in Singapore’s Smart Nation drive at his National Day Rally speech.

Noting then that Singapore had fallen behind in this area compared with countries like China, he called for a unified cashless payment system.

Since then, the Monetary Authority of Singapore has said it planned to roll out a national QR code system that anyone can ride on.

Other parties, such as ride hailing app Grab and Chinese payment provider Alipay, have also announced their own plans to roll out payment solutions to target cash-based merchants. — TODAY

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