Nets streamlines process for businesses to accept Visa, Mastercard payments on terminals

Small businesses will get competitive merchant discount rates if they add Mastercard and Visa payment options to their Nets scheme. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE – Merchants can now use their Nets terminals to accept Visa and Mastercard payments from customers without having to go through multiple payment service providers, following new agreements inked between the local company and both credit card networks.

In the past, merchants needed to work with multiple parties to get access to local, Mastercard and Visa payment schemes, Nets said on Tuesday. “This makes it more convenient for businesses, which will need to liaise with only a single payment service provider,” it added.

Shops offering the Nets scheme can already accept overseas wallets and foreign card payments, such as MyDebit card, RuPay card, WeChat Pay app, PromptPay and Alipay+.

Nets also has existing arrangements to acquire merchants for American Express, Diners, Discover, JCB and UnionPay. 

The payment provider said that small businesses with under $1 million in turnover will get competitive merchant discount rates if they add Mastercard and Visa payment options to their Nets scheme.

These rates refer to fees paid by merchants for the processing of debit card and credit card payments.

Nets declined to disclose the rates that merchants will incur under its Mastercard and Visa partnerships.

A pricing guide on its website on Monday evening showed that it charges a 0.8 per cent transaction fee for a Nets terminal and a fee of 2.99 per cent or 3.5 per cent, depending on the merchant’s sector, for credit card acceptance. These are in addition to monthly subscription fees.

Nets said that merchants can get “a unified view of transactions” across all their payment options when they consolidate their schemes with the company.

“This move is intended to reduce the hassle of administrative work and drive efficiency so that heartland business owners can free up time to focus on growing the business,” it added.

But some merchants are not too eager to add cards to their payment options.

Mr Justin Heah, 30, co-owner of Hundred Acre Creamery, finds it too expensive to accept such transactions across Nets, Visa and Mastercard. The gelato shop, which has outlets in Sunset Way and Tampines, allows customers to pay via QR codes and cash.

He added that QR codes allow the transaction to be fulfilled and the shop to be paid immediately, unlike card payments, which require processing time.

Mr Alan Lee, owner of G20 Banana, which sells goreng pisang (banana fritters) at Old Airport Road hawker centre, said his business receives a good 10 per cent of customers’ payments via PayNow.

He is, likewise, steering clear of the fees for setting up a payment terminal and potential delays in receiving funds.

“People nowadays carry handphones, and if you ask them to take out a credit card to tap, they might think it is a hassle. They would rather scan and pay,” added Mr Lee, 50.

However, engineer Joseph Lim, 30, said he would appreciate being able to use his credit card to pay at various heartland shops as this allows him to rack up rewards such as cashback.

“It is also more convenient as I can tap the terminal to pay with my card through Apple Pay, instead of logging into my banking app to use PayNow,” he said.

Nets group chief executive Lawrence Chan said consumers are increasingly opting to pay digitally, and that Nets’ partnership with Mastercard and Visa is a big step forward for its heartland merchant partners, which can provide more choices to their consumers.

His company said that new merchants should be able to get their terminals to accept payments within five days. Most existing merchants that already accept Nets can add the Mastercard and Visa options without needing to upgrade their terminals.

Ms Adeline Kim, Visa country manager for Singapore and Brunei, noted a recent survey by the company that found that more than 40 per cent of Singaporeans had chosen not to make a purchase before when they encountered a shop that lacked digital payment options.

“As shoppers increasingly rely on digital payments, it is fundamental for small business owners to accept digital payments to drive the growth of their businesses,” she said.

Ms Deborah Heng, Mastercard’s country manager for Singapore, said the partnership allows merchants, including small and medium-sized enterprises, to access a wider consumer base, and offers greater visibility and easier management of their funds.

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