Unified e-payment system: What about other fintech players?

I believe that Singapore should embrace cashless payments and I applaud the Government's effort to promote it.

Over the past year, Singapore has witnessed a proliferation of payment options made available to hawkers and other small business owners.

I am sure that the providers of such payment options spent money on technology and marketing to introduce their products.

These providers are already using cost-effective and creative solutions, like QR codes, to bring cashless payment solutions to the masses.

As there is already so much innovation and competition by private enterprises, why is the Government stepping in to introduce a payment platform and also appointing Nets as the provider of the unified payment platform (Nets to run unified e-payment system for hawker stalls; Sept 13)?

Fintech is commonly seen as a disruptor to traditional banks. Why is Nets, a company owned by the three largest banks in Singapore, mandated to take the lead role in Singapore's payment provider space?

Wouldn't Nets have a vested interest to not encourage newer fintech players who might one day be a threat to traditional banks?

The Government also appears to be utilising taxpayers' money - for example, in covering the 0.5 per cent transaction fee - to subsidise the cashless initiative.

While it is laudable to promote cashless payments, is there transparency in its selection of Nets?

Have other methods of using government funding to promote cashless payments been studied?

Is the decision to consolidate all the payment providers into a single platform and the appointment of Nets a transparent process and will other fintech players be given an opportunity to participate?

Tew Woon Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2018, with the headline 'Unified e-payment system: What about other fintech players?'. Print Edition | Subscribe