Thursday, December 1, 2011

Debit-card use may rise amid global turmoil

TWO out of three ATM- or debit-card holders here choose to pay for their daily purchases using PIN-based debit-payment methods such as Nets or Epins, according to a recent survey.

More people are expected to turn to these payment methods in the light of a looming economic crisis, said Korvac Holdings, which conducted the survey involving 452 participants.

The company, which provides services for cashless payments, currently runs Epins - a payment service similar to Nets - for qualifying-full-bank account holders, and Payment Link, which allows consumers to use their ez-link cards to make payments not related to public transport.

"What you see now is that debt and credit are getting a little bit of a bad name. There is an increased feeling that you should really watch your spending," said Korvac's chief marketing officer, Mr Jos Birken.

He added that, in this sense, debit cards are a safer option because they allow cardholders to spend only what they have.

According to market researcher Euromonitor International, the total debit-card payment-transaction value in Singapore amounted to $18.1 million in 2009, and is estimated to hit $27.4 million in 2015.

A mode of payment enabling consumers to pay for goods and services using their mobile phones is also set to tap into the cashless-payment market by next year.

This mobile-payment method is based on NFC (near-field communications) technology, which is already being used in contactless-payment modes such as ez-link cards.

A consortium of seven firms - including telcos SingTel, M1 and StarHub - has been chosen to create and run the network.

At least three mobile- payment services will be made available by the middle of next year, according to earlier reports.

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