NETS appointed as “master acquirer” for e-payment transactions at hawker centres and coffee shops

Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS) has been chosen as the service provider that will consolidate up to 20 e-payment methods at hawker centres and coffee shops as well as industrial canteens, according to Enterprise Singapore.

In its press release today (12 Sep), Enterprise Singapore elaborated that the decision was made jointly with the Housing and Development Board (HDB), National Environment Agency (NEA), and JTC Corporation (JTC).

Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Singapore, Mr Ted Tan, said: “In Singapore, about 40% of dining occasions take place at coffee shops, hawker centres and canteens.

“With technology becoming such an integral part of our urban lifestyles, the government is enhancing the dining experience by providing customers with a unified e-payment solution where transactions can be made easily, quickly and securely.

“Merchants too, will benefit as they will now have a cost-effective and productive model to accept and process e-payments from customers and suppliers,” said Mr Tan.

Annex 1: Overview of the unified e-payment solution for coffee shops, hawker centres, and industrial canteens. Source: Enterprise Singapore

Customers will be able to pay using 20 e-payment schemes, including transport cards such as EZ-Link, NETS FlashPay, and concession cards, as well as mobile applications.

For transactions made before 11 p.m., payment transactions will be credited directly into the merchant’s bank account within one day after close of business, while transactions made via American Express, MasterCard, and Visa will be credited within two days after close of business.

Transaction receipts will be consolidated into a single report by the master acquirer.

The first phase of the initiative will observe 10 payment schemes going “live” by the end of this year, which include American Express, Cepas, Ez-Link, Liquid Pay, Mastercard, Nets, Nets FlashPay, UnionPay, Visa, and WeChat Pay.

The remaining 10 schemes under the second phase is scheduled to be completed by August next year “across 200 coffee shops, 25 hawker centres, and 20 industrial canteens” will include Active Wallet, Alipay, Bev Eat, Ezi Wallet, GrabPay, iAPPS, Honestbee, Qixiang Technology, Singtel Dash, and Smart Gateway.

Detailing the benefits of the initiative for food enterprises involved, Enterprise Singapore said:

Merchants will be given a terminal for card payments and an SGQR code to accept and process transactions from the 20 payment schemes. The appointment of a master acquirer will also eliminate the need for multiple terminals or quick response (QR) codes, a common bugbear in the e-payment ecosystem. In addition, merchants now need not liaise with different individual payment schemes and acquirers.

Under the initiative, a merchant discount rate (MDR) of 0.5% for monthly payment transactions was agreed upon. This is below the average industry MDR of between 2% and 5%.

Enterprise Singapore noted that funding will be provided by the government to merchants that sign up with NETS by August 2020, which could foresee bringing down the MDR to 0%, on top of a waiver of the terminal rental fee for merchants by NETS.

“Such public-private sector collaboration aims to generate sufficient scale and widespread use of e-payments across coffee shops, hawker centres and industrial canteens,” reasoned Enterprise Singapore.