JOHOR BAHRU: Singaporean shoppers headed to Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Melaka will now be able to make purchases with their NETS ATM card.
The number of NETS acceptance points across Malaysia have increased from 4,500 to 7,400 points, and they can now be found in the three major cities in addition to Johor Bahru, said NETS and its Malaysian counterpart Payment Network Malaysia (PayNet) on Friday (Nov 29).
The service has expanded since it was first introduced in November 2018, when NETS said that Singapore consumers could use their NETS ATM cards in Johor Bahru malls like JB City Square, Sutera Mall and KSL City Mall.
Now, Singapore bank card holders who shop at KLIA 2 and Sunway Pyramid in Kuala Lumpur, Queensbay Mall in Penang as well as Makhota Parade and Dataran Pahlawan in Melaka will be able to pay with NETS.
The services will be available at multiple outlets, including retailers that are popular among Singaporeans such as Giant Hypermarket, pharmacy Guardian, medicinal store Eu Yan Sang and bak kwa chain Bee Cheng Hiang.
Malaysian travellers to Singapore may now also make purchases using MyDebit ATM cards, Malaysia’s national debit card scheme through 500 acceptance points.
MyDebit may be used through NETS' network of merchants at Bugis Village, as well as outlets like Apple retailer iStudio, Pandora, Awfully Chocolate and Salad Stop!.
The initiative was first announced in a joint statement in April by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong.
EXCHANGE RATE "ALMOST THE SAME AS" MONEY CHANGERS
In an interview with CNA, Group CEO of NETS Jeffrey Goh highlighted that exchange rates will be competitive for Singaporean visitors who can now use NETS ATM cards instead of bringing wads of cash when they shop in Malaysia.
“So for example, when Singaporeans go to the grocer, and you don’t have enough cash, (this NETS service) gives them an option. It also gives them peace of mind knowing that we don’t charge them high forex rates,” said Mr Goh.
While the exchange rate could vary with every purchase, Mr Goh said that it was "almost the same as the money changers".
“For merchants, NETS service will bring customers to them. And customers (might) make bigger orders too as it's convenient for them,” he said.
When CNA visited an optician retailer at JB City Square, a Singaporean shopper who bought contact lenses with his NETS ATM card was charged with a conversion rate of S$1 to RM3.0248.
The rate was similar to the selling rate of S$1 to RM3.03 offered at a money changer at the same mall.
Singaporean Muhd Ismail Hassan, who visited JB City Square for a day trip, told CNA that expanding the use of NETS ATM card services to Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Penang was a good idea.
“When we travel up, we don’t have to carry S$1,000 to S$2,000 of cash anymore. It’s more convenient for us when we shop at the malls in these places,” he said.
Mr Goh said that NETS is looking to increase the number of acceptance points to restaurants and shopping outlets in Malaysia that are popular among Singaporeans. He added that NETS is working with PayNet to offer QR code payments “within the next six months” for customers.
This means that Singaporean visitors to Malaysia, or Malaysian visitors to Singapore, will be able to make purchases via cashless payments services such as DBS PayLah via QR code transactions through their smartphones.
NETS was also working with partners in Indonesia and Thailand to enable cross-border instant fund transfers and QR payments in the future, he said.