Pay for hawker centre meals with ez-link cards at Nets terminals from April

From April 2018, commuters will be able to tap their ez-link cards on Nets terminals to pay for their food at hawker centres. PHOTO: NETS

SINGAPORE - From April, commuters will be able to tap their ez-link cards, including concession cards, on Nets terminals to pay for their noodles or chicken rice at hawker centres here.

This is the first time the two local payment giants - Nets and EZ-Link - are working together, and will widen the acceptance of ez-link cards beyond a hawker centre in Jurong West.

The firms say the move signals their commitment to building a unified cashless ecosystem at hawker centres. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had called for such unification last August in his National Day Rally speech.

In a joint statement on Wednesday (Jan 24), the firms said the partnership will ensure that senior citizens and students - who may not have bank accounts - are not left behind in Singapore's journey towards becoming a cashless society.

"This partnership is a significant milestone in our efforts to build a cashless ecosystem at hawker centres because we are now able to offer all Singaporeans, young and old, a 'single interface' payment experience at hawker centres," said Nets chief executive Jeffrey Goh.

For starters, ez-link cards will be accepted at some 1,000 stalls in more than 30 hawker centres. They include stalls that have installed Nets' payment terminals at hawker centres in Beo Crescent, Tanjong Pagar, Yishun Park and Zion Road.

These stalls also currently display a QR code that works with the e-wallets of DBS Bank, OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank (UOB), as well as the NetsPay e-wallet.

This QR code will soon be changed to the SGQR code, which will work with more e-wallets such as Singtel Dash, if merchants so choose.

From April, ez-link cards will also be accepted at canteens in Singapore Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Nanyang Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic and the Nanyang Technological University. The canteens have also installed Nets' payment terminals.

Nets and EZ-Link, a subsidiary of the Land Transport Authority, are looking to expand the partnership beyond hawker centres.

Said EZ-Link chief executive Nicholas Lee: "We hope to continue to establish similar partnerships to increase our acceptance points across Singapore, and empower Singaporeans of all ages in the nation's cashless journey."

Ms Jacqueline Loh, deputy managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, welcomed the partnership. "We look forward to similar collaboration among industry players to enhance consumers' payment experience," she said.

Launched in 2001, ez-link stored-value cards are predominantly used to pay for public transport.

Nets dominates the retail space with a system that lets consumers use their ATM cards for direct deductions from their bank accounts. Owned by DBS, OCBC and UOB, Nets has the most extensive payment network here, with 100,000 acceptance points islandwide.

Nets also dominates the Electronic Road Pricing and carpark payment space with its CashCard system.

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