Will NETS succeed in unifying QR code payment in Singapore?

If you have been around shopping centres recently, it is highly probable that you would have noticed that retailers currently offer a plethora of payment methods. Gone are the days when the retailers’ display glass panels would feature just one or two payment stickers, usually bearing the logos of Mastercard or Visa. Following the wild successes of WeChat Pay and Alipay in China, many fintech companies offering mobile payments have sprung up in their wake, offering retailers a wide variety of payment options. In Singapore, these include Grab Pay and Razerpay. Banks have also gotten in on the action with DBS PayLah!, UOB Mighty and OCBC PayAnyone all providing payment solutions for their respective clientele.

With so many different parties entering the market thus creating market inefficiencies, this begs the question of whether Singapore can achieve her aims of becoming a Smart Nation. Indeed, this question has elicited responses from various stakeholders including Razer, whose CEO responded to PM Lee’s call for a solution to Singapore’s fragmented e-payments industry by proposing a unified payment system.

Since then, another key stakeholder has emerged to resolve the issue. Nets, a leading retail payments company in Singapore for over 30 years, recently came up with its QR code option for mobile payments, Nets Pay. The past few months have seen Nets Pay make significant inroads into the mobile payments industry, with pilot initiatives in hawker centres all across Singapore. In displaying its determination to remain the payments powerhouse in Singapore, Nets has announced that it would be investing S$30 million over the next three years to launch a unified digital payments platform. Nets investment plans will be supported by DBS, OCBC and UOB, the three banks that each own a third of Nets. Given that the banks have already come up with their own applications that can accept mobile payments, namely DBS PayLah!, UOB Mighty and OCBC PayAnyone, it is both understandable and logical for the banks to push for a unified platform.

So the question goes back to whether Nets can succeed in unifying the QR code payment in Singapore?

At FOMO Pay, we believe that Nets has a better chance than anyone else at achieving this goal. Since its inception in 1985, a generation of Singaporeans have grown up accustomed to seeing and using Nets for their daily purchases. With Nets QR code payment system already available at 30,000 acceptance points, including more than 600 stalls across 20 hawker centres, and school canteens at various polytechnics and universities, it appears that the conditions are ripe for mass adoption.

Ms Ng Zhi Ying, an analyst at market research firm Forrester, said that Nets’ latest initiative ‘is a significant move because of the collaboration among Singaporean banks that are working together to create network effects crucial to the uptake of mobile payments’. She also drew a distinction between the previous situation where ‘banks, telcos, and other mobile payment players were competing against each other. Kick-starting these network effects will allow this new system to reach critical mass faster’.

It appears that the heady days of multiple payment modes will disappear as fast as they have emerged. While retail shops still display different logos for payment options, we are certain that with Nets’ push for a unified payment mode, coupled with support from DBS, OCBC and UOB, the future would see Nets Pay emerge as the ultimate victor.

About FOMO Pay

FOMO Pay provides one-stop QRCode Payment Solution which enables merchants to accept a full suite of new payment methods including WeChat Pay, NETSPay, mVISA, Grab Pay, Baidu Wallet, Best Pay, etc. Launched in 2016 with more than 1000 merchants acquired within a year, FOMO Pay is trusted by major companies including SPH, Marina Bay Sands, StarHub, JUMBO, Club 21, CHANEL, etc. With FOMO Pay, merchants can unlock true business potential by giving customers the payment options they prefer and adopt cashless payment easily. FOMO Pay is also sitting in MAS SGQR Taskforce to promote QR code payment and make Singapore a cashless society.