SINGAPORE: By the middle of next year, seven banks in Singapore will offer consumers the option of paying using NETS QR code.
In a joint press briefing on Monday (Nov 20), DBS Bank, OCBC and UOB said they have come onboard NETS' QR code platform. They will be joined by HSBC, Maybank and Standard Chartered Bank to enable this payment offering.
Citibank, a non-NETS participant, is also on board, offering the payment option for small, cash-based merchants, they said.
The unified QR code payment platform will be able to accept payments from customers using NETSPay, DBS PayLah!, OCBC Pay Anyone and UOB Mighty, while the four foreign retail banks are “expected to offer this service shortly”.
All of NETS’ more than 100,000 acceptance points will be QR code-enabled by mid-2018, according to the press release.
To encourage the installation of NETS terminals by hawkers, NETS is waiving all terminal and transaction fees for three years, it said.
As for consumers, NETS and the three local banks are launching a S$15 million, four-month promotion campaign. From Nov 17 to Mar 31, 2018, the first 288 customers who make eight QR code payments a month at any participating hawker centre will receive S$28 in rebates.
During the same period, the top three hawkers at each food centre enabled with QR code who have the highest number of cashless transactions on a monthly basis will receive $388, $288 and $188, respectively, they added.
Currently, hawker centres with NETS QR payment capability include Yishun Park Hawker Centre, Tanjong Pagar Plaza Food Centre, Redhill Food Centre and Amoy Street Food Centre.
On the campaign, NETS CEO Jeffrey Goh told Channel NewsAsia after the briefing that S$6 million of the S$15 million will go towards “incentivising users to get on board” the QR code payment offering. It will also not be restricted to just the four-month campaign, but for the whole of 2018, he added.
The remaining S$9 million will go towards incentivising the merchants, and helping them get equipped to accept the payment method, Mr Goh said.
Additionally, the three banks and NETS are also committed to getting people to adopt QR code payments.
The NETS chief explained that while the immediate campaign is incentivising users with rebates, which rewards them after a period of time, the next phase of marketing efforts will go towards “instant gratification”.
This includes offering them promotion codes, like those offered by food delivery providers Foodpanda and Deliveroo, so when they pay for, say “a $3 bowl of laksa, they only pay S$2 because of the code”, Mr Goh elaborated.
Asked if NETS QR code is thus Singapore’s national QR code specification, as mentioned by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his National Day Rally speech, the CEO said its offering “will support the SG QR when it is ready".
The Monetary Authority of Singapore said on Monday that standardised QR specifications that accept both domestic and international payment schemes will be rolled out and be adopted by payment service providers through next year.
Administratively, Mr Goh explained that NETS will replace the QR code stickers merchants will have, with the SG QR version once it is ready.
There are also discussions under way with foreign players to make sure visitors here can make payments using QR code.
Mr Goh said it is working with “top inbound tourist markets” like China and Indonesia to their citizens visiting Singapore will have a seamless experience.
Talks are ongoing on incorporating SG QR to other markets’ payment offerings, but they declined to reveal which countries they are discussing with.