FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore's e-payment space gets overcrowded

Customers lose interest in hawkers that install systems like NetsPay and DBS Paylah.

The interest in fintech has resulted in the rise of new e-payment schemes in Singapore, however, this also presents a challenge in infrastructure, BMI Research revealed.

A report revealed that the unique mobile payments such as NetsPay, DBS Paylah, Grabpay, and Alipay, led to the need for multiple payment terminals and the need for multiple payment apps.

"This has hindered the take up of fintech, with consumers and merchants alike requiring multiple systems," the research team said.

The government and the private sector tried to solve this problem by creating platforms that allow for various credit cards.

Seven mobile wallets, acquirers, and payment networks have formed a consortium to enable interoperable QR payments in Singapore. This consisted of major players including Diners Club, EZi Wallet, EZ-Link, Liquid Pay, Mastercard, UnionPay International, and Wirecard,

"This will be positive for efforts to create a common platform and possibly supplement NetsPay’s efforts to unite the disparate systems," BMI Research said.

However, difficulties in operating the various systems and the lack of reliability are likely to present additional challenges to the widespread adoption of fintech by merchants.

This was seen in the system launched at a hawker centre in Jurong West, where stalls accepted eight kinds of e-payments, including EZ-Link cards and Apple Pay. BMI Research cited a report that said hawkers faced broken down machines, expensive use of e-payment terminals, lack of customer interest, and lag in obtaining credit from the systems.

Here's more from BMI Research:

A two-hour long outage of the NETS payment systems in early February further highlights the challenges the government faces in its e-payments push, raising concerns over the reliability of e-payments.

With e-payment systems likely to take some time to gain traction, the conventional banking will likely maintain its dominant position, buoyed by robust growth in personal and commercial banking: for example, we forecast loan growth to expand by 6.4% in 2018 (from 6.0% in 2017) due to the recovering property sector. 

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