TELECOM & INTERNET | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Here’s why new NFC-enabled SIM cards may flop in Singapore

The service is too costly.

Singapore’s telco operators recently unveiled new NFC-powered SIM cards, which will allow commuters to pay fares using their mobile phones. The SIM cards will also be accepted at 30,000 ez-link terminals across the island.

However, the new SIM cards might fail to gain enough popularity because of several stumbling blocks, according to a report by DBS.

The report noted that the popularity of iPhones in Singapore is a big hurdle to the rise of the new SIM cards. The NFC-powered SIM cards are incompatible with iPhones, which only support Apple Pay and make up a third of mobile phone sales in the country.

DBS also highlighted that ez-link is not accepted at 7-11 stores and many other retail outlets, which prefer NETS and credit cards.

Apart from these hurdles, the cards are also extremely expensive at $37.50 apiece.

“EZ-link is not widely popular for retail transactions even in Singapore. Plus NFC enabled payment is not adding any security feature to the ez-link card while “Apple Pay” adds security to credit card transactions. So we do not see that the NFC enabled SIM based payments will be widely used. Anyway, telcos may not get much commission out of the transactions, as the bulk may go to ez-link for its large customer base using it for buses and trains,” the report noted.

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