Singaporeans can now use their NETS ATM cards in Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Melaka when they shop, thanks to the 7,400 NETS acceptance points in Malaysia, up from 4,500.
The service, first introduced in 2018, has expanded to allow Singaporean shoppers to use their NETS card in malls in Johor Bahru like JB City Square, Sutera Mall, and KSL City Mall. Now, NETS points have been introduced at Malaysia’s airport KLIA2, Sunway Pyramid mall in Kuala Lumpur, Queensbay Mall in Penang, and Mahkota Parade and Dataran Pahlawan in Melaka.
Multiple outlets offer the service including retailers that popular among Singaporeans such as Guardian pharmacy, the Giant Hypermarket, Chinese medicinal store Eu Yan Sang, and bak wa store Bee Cheng Hiang.
Inversely, Malaysians travelling to Singapore can also now pay using the Malaysian national debit card scheme, MyDebit ATM cards, at 500 acceptance points on the island. MyDebit is available through NETS’ network of merchants at Bugis Village and in outlets such as iStudio, Pandora, Salad Stop! and Awfully Chocolate.
Group CEO of NETS said in an interview with Channel NewsAsia (CNA) that the exchange rates will be competitive for Singaporeans in Malaysia.
“So for example, when Singaporeans go to the grocer, and you don’t have enough cash, (this NETS service) gives them an option. It also gives them peace of mind knowing that we don’t charge them high forex rates,” he explained.
He added that while exchange rates may vary with each purchase, the rates are “almost the same” as offered by money changers.
“For merchants, NETS service will bring customers to them. And customers (might) make bigger orders too as it’s convenient for them,” he added.
This now means that Singaporean travellers won’t have to travel with large amounts of cash, making it more convenient for shoppers.
Mr Goh added that they are looking at adding more acceptance points to shopping outlets and restaurants in Malaysia, especially ones that are popular among Singaporeans. He said that NETS is working with its Malaysian counterpart, PayNet to offer QR code payments as well in the next six months.
This would further enable cashless payments for Singaporeans in Malaysia or vice versa, allowing them to make payment via QR code transactions on their smartphones.
NETS says it is also working on enabling cross-border instant funds transfer and QR payments in Indonesia and Thailand.
Earlier this year, NETS made headlines for less favourable reasons when they had to apologise for an E-Pay advertisement that featured actor and DJ Dennis Chew impersonating people of different races, including donning “brownface” to portray an Indian person.
The ad led to a parody rap music video calling out E-Pay for being racist by siblings Preeti and Subhad Nair. The duo were then investigated for the offensive content and ordered to take down the video.
The NETS campaign was done for a unified e-payment solution, and was displayed online, as well as at hawker centres, canteens and coffee shops. It was created under a multi-agency effort spearheaded by Enterprise Singapore to promote cashless payment. NETS was hired as the “master acquirer” to be in-charge of payment transactions and drive adoption of e-payment in small food businesses.
Other agencies that are part of this campaign include National Environment Agency, the Housing Board and JTC Corporation.
Later as the backlash started, NETS issued an apology for the incident but many netizens felt the apology was not sincere.
As the events unfolded, the sibling duo released a first apology using the same words as NETS’ apology before releasing another, more sincere apology. The siblings were also also given a conditional warning for their actions.
NETS and E-Pay managed to get out of the saga without so much as a warning.