What is NETS?
NETS stands for Network of Electronic Transfers (Singapore).
It is a provider of electronic and cashless payment services driven by local banks in Singapore.
Fun fact: NETS is actually the leading payment services group in the country. According to their LinkedIn profile, they process up to 1 trillion Singapore dollars every year!
Background and history of NETS
NETS was formed in 1985 to lead the growth of electronic fund transfers in Singapore. Five local banks in Singapore set up the company.
The implementation of this company over 30 years ago helped drive Singapore to being a more cashless society today. Since then, other international banks have joined NETS, including Malayan Banking Berhad, HSBC, Standard Chartered and more.
Starting off as a two-month pilot project of only 10,000 card holders in June of 1985, NETS’ great success allowed it to launch island-wide to over a million people just six months later!
Payments were made by swiping an ATM card through the NETS machine and then entering your pin number, authorizing the payment from your bank account. This convenience of swiping a card to pay was years ahead of competitors such as Visa PayWave technology, which launched in Singapore in 2007!
Since its humble beginnings more than 35 years ago, NETS now also provides online credit and debit card payment systems, value cards and self-service kiosks for in-store payments.
How to use NETS?
NETS has developed a range of products and services since its birth in the 80s. In Singapore, NETS is in use at over 100,000 locations including retail stores, hawker centres, supermarkets and food courts.
Their products and services include
- NETS payment terminals for merchants for electronic payments
- ATM Cards that allow a swipe-and-PIN method
- Contactless ATM Cards for payments without requiring pin authorization
- NETSPay App, a mobile application that can be linked to your credit and debit cards and be used for retail, transport and F&B payments. You can also pay directly with your phone using the app by scanning the QR code!
- NETS QR for contactless payments to be made by scanning a QR code using the NETSPay app or participating banking apps
- NETS FlashPay, a stored value contactless card for retail, transport and meal purchases
- NETS Prepaid Card links your credit or debit card to a prepaid card and can be used for retail as well as bus and train services
- NETS Motoring Card, a stored value card for all motoring needs including parking and Electronic Road Pricing (ERP).
- Banking Payments via participating banking apps including bank transfers, cheque clearing and interbank transfers on your mobile device.
Why use NETS?
NETS has established itself in Singapore as the leader in payment services and is very accessible with over 100,000 payment points all over Singapore.
Moreover, paying with NETS helps support local businesses including retailers and hawker centres, as the company charges a lower commission fee than its competitors, according to this Quora post. Using NETS is a great way of booming the local economy!
NETS has also been open to all walks of life regardless of financial history, as you can enjoy its services and products with just a debit card (no credit card necessary!)
Is NETS safe to use?
The short answer is definitely! NETS is committing to providing safe and secure services, by utilizing firewalls, use of PIN and password for logins, identity authentication for app payments and logging out of applications during inactivity. NETS is definitely a trusted leader in offering safe payment services to users.
How does it compare to other cashless payments?
NETS is a Singaporean company, whereas other popular cashless payment services such as Visa and Mastercard originate from the United States.
As mentioned earlier, NETS charges a lower merchant fee compared to its competitors, making it a better option for the local economy. Merchants tend to prefer NETS for obvious reasons, so in Singapore, it is more widely available.
NETS competitors such as Visa and Mastercard however are more recognized globally. NETS is only available on a limited basis in Malaysia, Australia, China and Thailand; however, it is a great if not the best option for Singapore!
Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about NETS
Is NETS the same as a debit card?
No, it is not the same as a debit card! NETS is a medium to use your debit and credit cards. NETS provides products and services (such as the NETSPay app and NETS payment terminals) that link your debit and credit card. This allows quick and seamless purchases online or in-store.
How do you use NETS in Singapore?
You can use NETS in Singapore for in-person or online payments for retail, motoring, transport and F&B, as well as for bank transfers and cheques.
The NETSPay mobile app is available on Google Play and the Apple app store.
NETS cards such as prepaid cards or FlashPay can be purchased at NETS customer service centres. Convenience stores such as 7Eleven and online companies such as Lazada also sell the cards.
Top-up for these cards online, at convenience stores, petrol stations or at NETS top-up machines located around the city.
Is NETS the same as visa?
NETS is similar to Visa, being a medium of payment for your debit and credit card. However, NETS is a local company, whereas Visa is from the United States. NETS charges lower merchant fees than Visa. NETS also has more products and services than Visa in Singapore, with various cards and a specific app for the consumer’s every need.
Can foreigners use NETS?
Definitely! All you need is to download the app and link your debit or credit card (limited to participating banks) to access NETS QR and to link NETS products such as the FlashCard.
How do I get a NETS card in Singapore?
NETS cards are sold online such as at Lazada, as well as at their customer service centres and all convenience stores and petrol stations.
Is NETS and Mastercard the same?
NETS and Mastercard are both channels to make payments using credit or debit cards. Mastercard is from the United States, whereas NETS is local. Mastercard charges higher merchant fees compared to NETS.
NETS also offers more products and services in Singapore compared to Mastercard.
Try out payments with NETS by visiting your local shopping centre!
For more articles like this, check out 10 Best Credit Cards in Singapore – Perks and Rewards.