NETS currently has 37,000 merchant partners with some 2,500 of them already FlashPay enabled, while payment with its direct competitor ez-link is available in 5,000 points. In a statement, EZ-Link said it welcomes the competition and believes that competition is good for the industry.
With the launch of this new card, NETS is hoping to tap into small value payments at convenience stores, food and retail outlets and supermarkets.
In the other hand, Watchdata, DBS and Visa have teamed up to produce a 3-in-1 smart card that offers consumers multiple capabilities for cashless payment, combining Visa payment, Visa payWave and ez-link services on a single-chip smart card. The card also supports CEPAS standard that provides better convenience and flexibility for consumers in making cashless payments in and around Singapore.
However, according to local press, of the eight million ez-link cards slated to be replaced by the CEPAS-compliant cards, more than 3.3 million had not been exchanged even after the deadline, extended by a week, passed 7 October, 2009.
CEPAS is spearheaded by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), and is one of the key next generation e-Payment initiatives under Singapore's iN2015 infocomm masterplan led by IDA. The vision of CEPAS is for Singaporeans to have a single card for use all around Singapore for micro-payments. This includes transit (bus, MRT, LRT), taxi, motoring (ERP, parking), retail, and other services.The introduction of CEPAS is part of the implementation of the government plan to make NETS and ez-link converge (cf. Smart Insights Weekly #09-11).