Singapore payments provider NETS to roll out mobile wallet by end-2017

Singapore payments provider NETS to roll out mobile wallet by end-2017

The NETS Pay mobile wallet will allow those too young to own a credit card, or who do not wish to own one, to add their NETS ATM cards to their smartphones for mobile payments.

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NETS on Tuesday (Sep 12) announced its plans to roll out its NETS Pay mobile wallet before the end of the year, and that it will be equipped for use outside Singapore.

SINGAPORE: NETS on Tuesday (Sep 12) announced its plans to roll out its NETS Pay mobile wallet before the end of the year, and that it will be equipped for use outside Singapore.

The local payments provider said during a briefing that its mobile wallet will work like those currently in the market such as Apple Pay or Android Pay - in terms of the authentication process.

The difference is that it will be able to accept not just credit or debit cards, but NETS ATM cards too.

NETS is also working with one of the members of EMVCo - an industry organisation that exists to facilitate worldwide interoperability and acceptance of secure payment transactions - to ensure its mobile wallet can be used overseas, said CEO Jeffrey Goh.

EMVCo members include American Express, Discover, JCB, Mastercard, UnionPay and Visa.

With the mobile wallet, this would allow NETS to “digitise” ATM bank cards by incorporating them on users’ smartphones with near-field communication (NFC) capability, thus enabling contactless payment with their mobile devices, Mr Goh explained.

Additionally, the CEO said the technology to create contactless NETS ATM cards is already available for banks to deploy, and it is up to the financial institutions to decide when to do so. This is because they will have to update their technology internally as well as how they distribute the cards.

These developments come on the back of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighting cashless payments as one of the key thrusts in Singapore’s Smart Nation ambitions during this year’s National Day Rally speech.

BETTING BIG ON QR

During the briefing, NETS also said it had created a local version of QR specification and enlisted the support of DBS Bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) and United Overseas Bank (UOB) with their mobile payment solutions PayLah!, PayAnyone and Mighty, respectively.

NETS has created a local version of QR specification. (Photo: Kevin Kwang)

This was announced on Saturday, when it launched the QR code at Tanjong Pagar Plaza Market and Food Centre. 

NETS aims to introduce its QR code to its merchant base, which numbers about 38,000 currently, in order to drive adoption. This can be done in standalone, physical QR codes or QR codes generated by payment terminals, on billing invoices, integrated within a mobile app or on e-commerce sites as an additional function to the existing eNETS function, it said.

The NETS QR code helps to overcome the challenge of enabling cashless payments for Apple’s iPhones, as well as lower-end phones that might not have the NFC technology, the company said.

NETS chief information officer Vincent Low told Channel NewsAsia at the sidelines of the briefing that the company plans to hold a developer forum to spread the word about integrating its QR code function to websites, and working with some of these developers have shown that the function can be integrated as quickly as four hours.

Asked what is the difference between NETS QR code and SGQR, the common QR code being developed by the Singapore Government, Mr Goh told reporters that NETS had been working on the local version since last year and launched its proof-of-concept solutions in November.

It knew that EMVCo was working on a global QR code standard, but it did not know when it would be released to the industry, so it went ahead to develop its own version, he explained.

The EMVCo eventually released the QR code payment specifications on Jul 31, and the taskforce set up to develop SGQR is looking into this set of specifications, Mr Goh noted.

That said, NETS QR code was developed with interoperability in mind, and it will support the specifications of SGQR when developed, he added.

When asked if the SGQR taskforce will adopt NETS QR code as the local variant while working to make it interoperable overseas, Mr Low reiterated that the company will support the SGQR efforts but it is open to that idea.  

Source: CNA/ad

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