Taking swipe at Razer CEO, Nets boss says getting usage is key to e-payment systems

Taking swipe at Razer CEO, Nets boss says getting usage is key to e-payment systems
Razer CEO Tan Min-Liang. TODAY file photo
Published: 4:00 AM, September 13, 2017
Updated: 9:34 AM, September 13, 2017

SINGAPORE — Nets chief executive officer Jeffrey Goh yesterday took a swipe at his Razer counterpart Tan Min-Liang, who has made Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong an offer to roll out a nationwide electronic payments system within 18 months.

Implementing e-payment systems is “no rocket science”, but getting enough people to use them is another story altogether, Mr Goh said at a press conference yesterday.

Asked about Mr Tan’s proposal — which first made headlines after Mr Lee responded to the Razer CEO on Twitter — Mr Goh related an anecdote about a friend who was able to launch such a system in another South-east Asian country in just four months.

“At the end of the day, it is about usage,” said Mr Goh, who noted that it is tough work getting merchants on board.

Nets — which was started in 1985 — has accumulated 38,000 merchants.

Mr Goh said that despite its large merchant base, Nets has “always been accommodating”.

“We are not here to compete, we believe that we need to offer choices for the consumer, whoever has the best user experience would win ... that is what we always say. If the experience is worse than cash, please don’t roll it out,” he said.

“Our common objective is to serve the users, the merchants. So if Razer has a wallet that is so successful that it wants to come (into the market), do you think I will stop him from using my Nets QR (code system)? The answer is no. Please, come.”

Still, he issued a warning to potential entrants to a cut-throat environment.

Referring to his company’s QR code payments system for hawker centres, he said: “We are waiving three years of fees.

“If anyone thinks they can make money from the hawkers, I don’t think so.”

Responding to Mr Goh’s comments, a Razer spokesman told TODAY that the company was “glad that we have managed to move the discussion of e-payments to the forefront with our recent proposal to the Prime Minister”.

He added: “Since our proposal, many banks and other industry players have reached out to us to collaborate.

“While we haven’t spoken with Nets, it is encouraging to hear they are also stepping up and are open to working with other companies.

“We are confident that if we all work together, we can achieve our goal of a cashless Singapore.”