SINGAPORE – In a trial set to test the waters of Singapore’s market for payment via mobile phone, some 1,000 consumers here will get to use their phones to make everyday payments from this month.
With a small chip added to their SIM cards, the trial participants will be able to pay with their phones at places like Cold Storage supermarkets, and Guardian and Watsons outlets.
Potential participants will receive an electronic mailer from StarHub or DBS Bank and the first 1,000 participants who sign- up will be picked for the eight-month trial.
They must be customers of StarHub, DBS Bank and MasterCard, which are organising the trial with EZ-Link and Dutch smart card maker Gemalto.
StarHub’s vice-president of business strategy and customer lifecycle management, Ms Yeong Mun Ling, said the exercise will help measure customers’ acceptance of mobile payments using near field communication (NFC) technology.
Participants can make mobile payments at merchants with MasterCard Paypass or EZ-Link readers like Giant hypermarkets, 7-Eleven stores and Transcab taxis.
Senior research manager for IDC’s Asia Pacific Telecommunications Group Alex Chau (corrected at 3:40PM, Dec 1) said the exercise would help gauge the public’s comfort level with mobile payment and allow its organisers to possibly modify the service or add extra security features to it.
Consumers cited convenience and security as key concerns.
Petrochemicals executive Ng Baoying, 26, asked: “Is it less prone to fraud and theft than a credit card? If so, then it could make sense to switch.”
Until NFC-enabled mobile phones are able to replace credit cards entirely, this extra mode of payment would make it harder to track one’s expenditure, she added.
Last month, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore invited proposals to build NFC infrastructure and payment services accessible to all mobile subscribers. It expects to launch the system by February 2012.