By Irene Tham, Senior Tech Correspondent, The New Paper, 25 January 2018 at 06:00 am
Singapore inched closer towards a unified cashless ecosystem yesterday as two local payment giants joined hands for the first time - a move that observers say signals the willingness of the country's e-payment players to collaborate.
From April, people will be able to tap their ez-link cards, including concession cards, on Nets terminals to pay for their noodles or chicken rice at hawker centres.
Nets and EZ-Link also said that they planned to extend their partnership beyond hawker centres.
The two firms pointed out that their first venture together was significant because it ensured that senior citizens and students - who might not have bank accounts but most likely carried ez-link cards - would not be left behind in the drive towards going cashless.
Singapore has redoubled its efforts to become a cashless society after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong pointed out in his National Day Rally speech last August that it lagged behind even China on this front.
He said there were too many e-payment systems that "don't talk to one another".
The e-payment scene roared to life soon after, including last November's rollout of a national quick response code payment standard, dubbed SGQR. It will work with most, if not all, the e-wallets in use.
Nets chief executive Jeffrey Goh said yesterday that the latest partnership would offer Singaporeans a "single interface experience" at hawker centres.
For a start, ez-link cards will be accepted at about 1,000 stalls in more than 30 hawker centres. They include stalls that have installed Nets' payment terminals at hawker centres in Beo Crescent, Tanjong Pagar, Yishun Park and Zion Road.
These stalls now also display a QR code that works with the e-wallets of DBS Bank, OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank, as well as the NetsPay e-wallet. This will eventually follow the SGQR specification.
From April, ez-link cards will also be accepted at canteens in Singapore Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Nanyang Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic and the Nanyang Technological University.
The canteens have also installed Nets' payment terminals.
There are more than 1,000 stalls across more than 30 hawker centres which accept Nets through both QR code and card payments.
THE way for a more widespread adoption of cashless payments has just been paved. Nets and EZ-Link - two of Singapore's largest e-payments platforms - have partnered to allow all EZ-Link and Concession cards to be used on Nets terminals at hawker centres. 
BT FILE PHOTO
Picture posted by Jacquelyn Cheok, The Business Times on Thursday, 25 January 2018 at 5:50 AM
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 Jacquelyn Cheok, The Business Times, Buying hawker food with EZ-Link cards, posted on Thursday, 25 January 2018 at 5:50 AM, http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/technology/buying-hawker-food-with-ez-link-cards
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