Tap & Pay For Purchases With Smartphones Later This Month

4 Aug

SINGAPORE: Smartphone users in Singapore can soon use their phones to pay for their shopping purchases and public transportation.

A consortium comprising mobile operators, banks and payment service providers will launch nationwide touch-and-go applications on mobile devices.

The consortium members are M1, SingTel, Starhub, Citibank, DBS, Gemalto and EZ-Link.

The services using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology will be available to the public later in August.

Consumers just need to tap and go their smartphones against the NFC reader to make payment.

Such technology makes shopping a much easier and more convenient experience.

And if you are worried about security, a password can be added as well to give you that peace of mind.

The maximum amount per transaction is currently capped at S$100.

All these are part of the vision to make Singapore a leading e-payments nation.

Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore’s senior director (Industry Cluster Group), Tan Eng Pheng, said: “The potential is tremendous. You can go beyond payment, to look at advertising, purchases, other CRM (Customer Relationship Management) services, over time.”

Sim S Lim, DBS Singapore’s country manager, said: “NFC is another option we offer our customers in our suite of mobile payments. Some customers might prefer to use a hard credit card (while) some customers are comfortable having everything packaged into a mobile phone.”

DBS plans to introduce virtual credit card to be stored in NFC handsets but this is pending regulatory approvals.

Some 30,000 retail points including taxis already have NFC connections.

Come early 2013, the tap-and-pay mobile device services will be extended to all public buses and subways.

However, not all smartphones can be used or are NFC-enabled.

Only four types of smartphones are currently available for use.

The models NFC certified are Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy S Advance, Sony Ericsson Xperia S and Sony Ericsson Xperia P.

Gan Siok Hoon, SingTel’s vice president (M-Commerce), said: “Increasingly we are seeing handset manufacturers include NFC as a feature in their new phones, so consumers can accept and expect more options going forward.”

Despite NFC being a secured option, analysts remind users to remain vigilant and not tap their smartphones against hacking devices.

Li May Chew, associate research director at IDC Financial Insights, said: “The incentive for fraudsters to benefit from it will also increase in tandem. So, same as with credit cards, debit cards, payments through mobile technology would also have corresponding security issues.”

Some 72 per cent out of an estimated four million Singapore’s mobile phone subscribers use smartphones.

Industry watchers believe the trend is rising and with more tech-savvy users, such mobile payment tools may come in handy.

– CNA/ck

Channel News Asia

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