Small businesses will benefit from simplified e-payment model

We thank Mr Tew Woon Chong for his letter (Unified e-payment system: What about other fintech players?; Sept 15).

The unified e-payment solution initiated by the Government serves to provide food merchants operating coffee shops, hawker centres and industrial canteens with a cost-effective, convenient and simple model to accept and process non-cash payments from customers.

This is to address some challenges faced by these small businesses when they want to adopt e-payments. For instance, they lack the scale and bargaining power to negotiate individually with the various e-payment providers for a reasonable rate. They also have to manage multiple payment systems on site by the different providers, which adds to the complexity when customers make payments.

The Government has, therefore, taken the lead to harmonise the various e-payment systems on a unified and interoperable platform, and collectively negotiate for a low transaction rate.

Enterprise Singapore, together with the Housing Board (HDB), National Environment Agency (NEA) and JTC Corporation (JTC), put out an open call for collaboration in April this year to invite proposals from private-sector players to provide a cost-effective, open and interoperable e-payment solution.

Senior representatives from the agencies, including the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Infocomm Media Development Authority jointly evaluated the proposals submitted.

Nets was subsequently appointed to develop this unified platform. As many as 20 e-payment options will be offered, including the widely used public transportation cards, credit cards and other e-payment applications.

With this interoperable and simplified e-payment solution, consumers will have the flexibility to choose from a variety of payment options that are easy, quick and secure.

Small food businesses will also benefit from having a single e-payment terminal on site, which minimises confusion. In addition, they will only need to liaise with Nets, which will provide a single touchpoint for after-sales support and settlement.

Ted Tan

Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Enterprise Singapore

(On behalf of the joint-agency-initiative by Enterprise Singapore, HDB, NEA and JTC on the unified e-payment solution for food businesses)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2018, with the headline 'Small businesses will benefit from simplified e-payment model'. Print Edition | Subscribe