Singapore moves towards interoperable NFC infrastructure for m-payments

Singapore moves towards interoperable NFC infrastructure for m-payments

Authorities in Singapore have outlined plans to work with banks, telcos and payment processors to set up an interoperable infrastructure for contactless mobile transit and payments.

The move comes after the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) set up a roundtable in January 2008, bringing together 11 industry players as well as government agencies to look into establishing an infrastructure for NFC services that works across telcos and banks.

Roundtable participants - including MobileOne, SingTel, StarHub, DBS, OCBC, UOB, BCS, EZ-Link, NETS, MasterCard and Visa, as well as the Ministry of Finance, Monetary Authority of Singapore and Land Transport Authority - have now agreed to collaborate on a system through a Trusted Third Party (TTP) infrastructure.

The TTP is expected to be appointed by next year and will act as a neutral party delivering interoperability by providing a single point of contact for all banks, payment providers and telcos, helping eliminate the duplication of infrastructure and satisfying the trust requirements for payment services.

The IDA claims ubiquitous consumer access will spur businesses to deploy NFC services.

The authority cites a study it commissioned from Consult Hyperion which suggests a fully interoperable NFC environment would generate a market size approximately eight times that of a non-interoperable environment.

It is estimated that in the early stage of NFC adoption, the annual revenue from mobile payments and advertising alone will amount to S$60 million for Singapore.

The IDA suggests that as the technology matures, NFC will be have an increasingly wide range of uses, such as helping consumers redeem e-coupons and even open doors by tapping their phones on contactless readers. Businesses can also create interactive posters that come with integrated NFC-enabled chips to allow for up-to-the-minute or customised information to customers.

Ronnie Tay, CEO, IDA, says: "NFC offers tremendous potential because of the many services it can bring to consumers. To realise its fullest potential, IDA sees interoperability as a key success factor for NFC and is pleased that all the NFC Roundtable members share the same conviction."

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