Singapore-based financial blog that aims to educate people on personal finance, investments, retirement and their Central Provident Fund (CPF) matters.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Is EZ Link Too Late for Cashless Payment Push?

The Straits Times reported a few days ago that EZ Link Cards will soon be accepted in hawker centres and subsequently with other merchants. This is all in a bid to move Singapore towards a more cashless society. Although this is a good initiative - and one that has finally arrived, it really came a bit too late.

For those of you who have been to Hong Kong before, you would know that they have a really good cashless payment system, the Octopus Card. It was created in 1997 mainly for payment of public transport but subsequently expanded to become Hong Kong's main wireless smart card payment system when the Government allowed it to be used for more than just transport payment in the year 2000.

Meanwhile in Singapore, although we have a similar card that does that does the similar function, EZ Link was never promoted to be used for anything more than transport (maybe 7-11). Or maybe it did try to mimic what Hong Kong's Octopus Card did but fail badly, and this time it is attempted to try it again. But, with the push from NETS' Flashpay, Mastercard's PayPass, Visa's Paywave, and many other cashless payment services coming out, can EZ Link succeed its push this time?

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  1. Perhaps like you said, ezlink is late in the game. It is actually quite complicated in Singapore with so many tap cards for different things. If we could use just one or two cards for anything, that would be great. It would be even better if we could pair cards with Apple Pay/Android Pay/Samsung Pay so we don't even have to bring around cards.

    1. I totally agree we should start pushing careless society as we carry our mobile phones everywhere we go might as well enable us to pay via our mobile phones

    2. I totally agree that we should go Mobile Payments way, much like China. But I do think one of the big hurdle for that is design. China makes payment quite simple really. Merchants make payment fairly simple too, with prices pretty much fixed, just a scan of the QR code and payment is done. In Singapore, prices varies in Hawker Centres, the need to enter value, scan, then show the stall owner and all. Adds friction to the whole transaction