Making contactless payments – do you ‘Flash’ or ‘Wave’?

Nov 03, 2015 11.30AM |

by Wan Ting Koh

IF YOU have a hoard of cards in your wallet right now, you may be interested to know that you can go beyond the traditional PIN number and signature system to make payments. For cards with Nets FlashPay or Visa payWave activated, payment is simply a matter of waving your card in front of a card reader. A hassle-free and paperless transaction.

Yet many remain unaware of this feature. Even though there are 3.1 million cards by DBS Bank, POSB, OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank (UOB) out there with the contactless FlashPay function, less than 10 per cent are used for transit currently. “A lot of people don’t know about the FlashPay feature,” Nets chief executive Jeffrey Goh told ST in a report yesterday.

To raise awareness of the contactless system, the Network for Electronic Transfers Singapore (Nets) is offering consumers a 10 per cent rebate with every $10 loaded on their Nets FlashPay cards in a bid to encourage more cardholders to use it. This will be part of a three-month campaign which kicked off two days ago and will run till Jan 31 next year.

Cards that are Nets FlashPay or Visa payWave-enabled include POSB Go! cards, OCBC’s Frank cards and the UOB Delight card. The main difference between them is that FlashPay cards use stored value, meaning, they need to be topped up when the value runs to zero. PayWave cards, on the other hand, are usually linked to debit or credit accounts, which means no top-ups, but they add to your debit or credit card bill at the end of the month.

For those of you confused between the Nets FlashPay and Visa payWave – or better yet, don’t know that your card has these options – identifying these cards is easy.

How to identify them:

Nets FlashPay

These cards have the small Nets FlashPay logo at the back of the cards. This would be accompanied by a CAN number below that begins with the four digits “1111”.

back of DBS debit card with Nets FlashPay logo and CAN serial number
Nets FlashPay logo is at the back of the card. A CAN serial number that starts with “1111” also signifies a Nets FlashPay-enabled card

Visa payWave

Visa payWave cards have their logos on the front. This is a small logo in the shape of a wifi signal but facing the right of the cards.

DBS card with visa paywave logo
Visa payWave logo is located on the right of the card.

Where you can use them:

Nets FlashPay

Nets FlashPay can be used for payments at food courts, convenience stores 7-eleven and Cheers, and supermarkets like Fairprice Xpress. Simply tap the cards on the card reader located at the payment counter like your EZ-link cards. In fact, much like your EZ-link cards, a Nets FlashPay card can be used for public transport at MRT and LRT gantries, in public buses, and in Comfort, CityCab and SMRT taxis. This amounts to more than 85,000 points and is equivalent to over 2,500 retail outlets island-wide.

Visa payWave

No, you cannot use this as an EZ-link card. These payWave cards can only be used at retail outlets with the Visa logos and the “wave” symbols at their checkout counters. You can use Visa payWave to pay for your groceries at Cold Storage, Sheng Siong, or to buy your movie tickets at Cathay Cineplex and Eng Wah Cinemas. You can even swipe them for your meals at Burger King and Din Tai Fung. In fact, there are over 11,000 acceptance points for Visa payWave. And that’s only in Singapore. Visa payWave can be used overseas in countries like Australia and Malaysia.

Note that you cannot use the Visa payWave option for transactions above $100. For that you will have to revert to the normal way of payment, which is to insert the card into the reader and enter a PIN or sign for the transaction.

Where do I get one:

Nets FlashPay

You can buy a generic Nets FlashPay card from TransitLink Ticket Offices, convenience stores 7-Eleven, Cheers, and even FairPrice Xpress. For these cards, you can top up your card value at bus terminals at passenger service centres, Transitlink ticket offices, general ticketing machines and top-up machines.

You could also opt for GIRO which allows the value in the FlashPay card to be automatically topped up when there is insufficient stored value. GIRO Nets auto top-up options can be registered for at iNETS Kiosks.

However, if you want the funds to be channeled from your bank account, you will have to apply to your bank to receive a card, whether debit or credit. With a bank-issued Nets FlashPay card, you can choose the auto top-up option which will automatically transfer $30-$50 into your Nets FlashPay account from your bank account every time your stored value runs low.

Visa payWave

Visa payWave technology can be incorporated on your debit, credit or prepaid card. That means you’ll have to have a bank-issued card to use the technology and the money will come from your debit accounts or be reflected on your bank statements at the end of the month for credit cards.

There are other “contactless” ways to make payment. Service station Esso has rolled out a keychain device called the Speedpass which you can use to make payments after refueling simply by pointing the keychain at the pump to activate it. The big thing is of course using mobile phones. There’s Apple Pay where you can simply hold your iPhone 6 or IPhone 6s near the contactless reader with your finger on the Touch ID to pay. Banks have also come up with other contactless payment methods such as Pay Lah, Dash, etc. Then there’s Samsung’s pay system…We’ll talk about these next time…


Featured image by Suhaile Md.

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