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NETS Partners DBS/POSB To Drive Usage Of Contactless Payments At Hawker Centres

10 to 20 more cashless hawker centres on the cards in 2015.

Singapore – NETS and DBS/POSB today embarked on a long-term partnership to drive consumer acceptance of contactless payments at “last mile” frontiers where cash is still king – the hawker centre.

At the official opening of the Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre today, which is equipped with NETS’ contactless infrastructure, NETS and DBS/POSB will give away free lunch and drinks to consumers who make payments using their FlashPay cards or any DBS/POSB cards equipped with FlashPay, instead of cash.

To pay, customers simply tap their card on the FlashPay terminal at the hawker stall, which the stall owner has preloaded with item prices.

Speaking to reporters at the opening ceremony, NETS CEO Jeffrey Goh, said, “Cash-based businesses such as hawker centres remain the ‘last mile’ in developing Singapore into a cashless society.

“For quick service industries such as hawker centres, contactless payments provide speed, convenience and hygiene. For instance, it takes less than a second to complete a transaction at a stall – so less time is spent queuing up and less manpower is required to man the stall.

“Merchants also recognise the benefits of offering customers contactless payment options. It makes it easier for them to track payments, thereby enhancing accountability and reduces the cost of managing cash,” he added.


Changing consumer mindset takes time

However, Mr Goh acknowledged that consumer mindsets take time to change. He said, “What’s encouraging is that we’re seeing an increase in the number of FlashPay cards used outside of transit. Today, 30 per cent of our cards are actively used for retail transactions, which is comparable to what we see in other developed countries. So consumers are taking to contactless payments, but changing payment behavior takes time.”

Last August, NETS launched a campaign – its biggest yet – to encourage consumers to tap and pay with FlashPay and win a condo in Pasir Ris. The campaign will run until end 2015.

Jeremy Soo, DBS’ head of consumer banking group (Singapore), said, “With most of the Singapore population banking with us, DBS is well placed to drive the cashless agenda in Singapore. We are very pleased to partner NETS to drive contactless payments through continual education to customers on its benefits. We have seen such transactions doubling year-on-year, with close to a million transactions per month.”

“A cashless system will bring many benefits and productivity improvements to both consumers and retailers. The ‘tap and pay’ contactless option provides our customers with a swifter payment option and saves them the hassle of handling cash and loose change,” he added.


Rise in contactless payments

Established 30 years ago to help Singapore go cashless, NETS’ debit network has helped to facilitate the nation’s transition from physical cash to e-payments. In 2009, NETS launched FlashPay as part of NETS’ strategy to encourage contactless payments, particularly for small-value transactions.

FlashPay is a contactless card that can be used for payments at food courts, convenience stores, supermarkets, on all MRT/LRT, public buses, Comfort & CityCab and SMRT taxis, for ERP and CEPAS-compliant car park charges and at retail outlets across Singapore.

Over these past five years, NETS has seen more merchants adopting contactless payments. At end-2014, there were more than 85,000 NETS acceptance points island-wide, all of which accept FlashPay (contactless) payments compared with just 68,000 points in 2011.


More cashless hawker centres

Mr Goh also announced plans to wire another 10 to 20 food centres for contactless payments this year.

Last year, NETS installed FlashPay terminals at Beo Crescent Market & Food Centre (Blk 38A, Beo Crescent) and Clementi 448 Market & Food Centre (Blk 448, Clementi Ave 3).

A survey of hawkers and their customers at the Clementi Food Centre found that contactless payments, while nascent, are well received. 90 percent of customers surveyed said that they would use FlashPay to pay for their purchases during their next visit, while 80 percent said that it was convenient to use FlashPay instead of physical cash to pay for their meals. Stall operators polled also unanimously promoted contactless payment to their customers.

Said Mr Goh, “Contactless payments are the way to go to develop Singapore into a smart nation. Currently, the penetration rate for card payments remains low at only 30%, compared to highly wired Scandinavia nations, where 85% of transactions at wet markets are via cards. We’ve built the contactless infrastructure and now it’s time to encourage consumers to embrace contactless payments.”


Incentives to promote contactless payments

To incentivise hawkers to prompt their customers to use FlashPay, NETS will also reward the top 10 hawkers at Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre with the highest transaction volume from today until 31 March with cash prizes ranging from $88-$688.

FlashPay users also enjoy monthly treats as well as 5% rebate at all hawker centres as well as on all taxi rides. Terms and conditions apply.

10 to 20 more cashless hawker centres on the cards in 2015.