Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Seven banks to allow NETS QR code payments at hawker centres, food stalls

SINGAPORE — In the first partnership involving all the major players in the cashless payment scene here, customers will be able to pay for kopi at a hawker centre or candy at the neighbourhood minimart using NETS, by scanning a QR code on their phones.

Customers of seven banks here will progressively be able to pay for their purchases at hawker centres and other food stalls using NETS QR code payments. Photo: Tan Weizhen/TODAY

Customers of seven banks here will progressively be able to pay for their purchases at hawker centres and other food stalls using NETS QR code payments. Photo: Tan Weizhen/TODAY

Singapore

Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

SINGAPORE — In the first partnership involving all the major players in the cashless payment scene here, customers will be able to pay for kopi at a hawker centre or candy at the neighbourhood minimart using NETS, by scanning a QR code on their phones.

Seven banks that cover 90 per cent of retail transactions here — DBS/POSB, OCBC Bank, UOB, HSBC, Maybank, Standard Chartered Bank and Citibank — have joined e-payments giant NETS’ new QR code-based platform, in a first step towards a nationwide system, it was announced on Monday (Nov 20).

This means customers can use their existing banking app to scan a QR code for payments at NETS terminals. They have to key in the amount to be paid after scanning the QR code, and the sum will be debited from bank accounts, just as for NETS transactions.

Customers of the three local banks can start using the service now. Customers of the four foreign banks will only be able to use QR code payments later, which will be via the respective bank apps or on the NetsPay app.

NETS’ QR code payment system is already available at 30,000 acceptance points, including more than 600 stalls across 20 hawker centres, and school canteens at some polytechnics and universities.

The company aims to roll the service out to all 100,000 of its acceptance points by the middle of next year, said NETS chief executive Jeffrey Goh at a media briefing on Monday. This will cover the remaining 100 hawker centres here, supermarkets, and taxis, among others.

NETS is also looking at partnerships with other countries so that Singaporeans can pay with QR codes via their own bank or NETSPay apps abroad. China and Indonesia are among the countries being targeted.

At Monday’s briefing, NETS chairman Tan Su Shan said: “NETS and the Singapore banks support our national agenda to build a Smart Nation powered by a smart national e-payments solution. With the myriad digital payments choices available today, consumers will be looking for one that is ubiquitous, simple and safe.”

The push for digital payments has gathered pace in recent months, after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted cashless payments as a key step in Singapore’s Smart Nation drive at his National Day Rally speech in August.

He said Singapore had fallen behind in this area compared to countries like China, and called for a unified cashless payment system.

Since then, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has said it plans to roll out a common QR code system that will accept both domestic and international QR code standards.

When that is launched, NETS’ Mr Goh said that his firm will switch over to this common QR code scheme. This will involve swapping out NETS’ QR code images, displayed at merchants’ stalls, for a new one.

Other parties, such as ride hailing app Grab and Chinese payment provider Alipay have also announced their own plans to roll out payment solutions to target cash-based merchants.

NETS and the three banks will be investing about S$30 million in this QR code initiative over the next three years.

NETS will also look to expand the system to other small businesses in the heartlands which currently accept mostly cash payments.

To make electronic payments more attractive, transaction and other fees for hawkers will be waived for the next three years. After that, fees – likely below 1 per cent of the transaction amount – will be charged, said Mr Goh.

Commenting on her experience so far with QR code payments, Ms Zhang Seow Hua, who runs a nonya kueh (traditional snacks) stall at Beo Crescent Hawker Centre, said it has improved convenience.

“Some people try to cheat us by claiming we gave them the wrong change, so this will help to deter that,” said the 62-year-old in Mandarin.

“But some of the other stall owners tell me (they won’t take this up because) they don’t want to pay more income tax. They say they will be charged a lot of tax if they use electronic payments,” she added.

Ms Shirley Tan, 44, who frequents hawker centres, said QR code payments must be fuss-free.

“It’s convenient as it means I don’t have to (carry) cash all the time,” said Ms Tan, who works in human resources. “But the process has to be as simple as one click. I don’t want to have to even log in, or I will feel that it is too troublesome.”

Meanwhile, the Payments Council established by the MAS announced on Monday night it has endorsed the specification for the common Singapore QR code (SG QR) that can accept e-payments by both domestic and international payment schemes, e-wallets and banks.

The SG QR will be adopted and deployed by payment services providers here through the course of next year. The NETS QR and Singtel Dash QR will be part of the SG QR.

And the Association of Banks in Singapore will include PayNow as part of the SG QR for person-to-person fund transfers. All seven participating PayNow banks will allow their customers to transfer funds via PayNow using QR codes.

Related topics

Nets

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.