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Singapore payments vendor takes app global with UnionPay partnership

Network for Electronic Transfers of Singapore (Nets) has inked an agreement with China's UnionPay to enable consumers to scan and pay for purchases at 7.5 million participating merchants worldwide.

Network for Electronic Transfers of Singapore (Nets) has inked an agreement to enable consumers to pay for purchases overseas, using its NetsPay app, at merchants that support UnionPay's QR code platform.

The mobile app had been updated with a new wallet function that would allow consumers to scan a QR code to process their transactions at more than 7.5 million participant UnionPay merchants worldwide.

This marked the first time Nets services would be available outside its domestic market, said the Singapore payments vendor in a statement Tuesday.

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NetsPay customers with NFC-enabled smartphones also would be able to make contactless payments at UnionPay's 12 million QuickPass contactless payment points, Nets said.

It added that the app had been further updated to enable users to send or receive money to and from other NetsPay users via mobile numbers or QR code. They also would be able to send money gifts to family or friends in "e-angbaos", or electronic red packets, via the app.

UnionPay's Southeast Asia general manager Yang Wenhui said: "The enabling of NetsPay acceptance at UnionPay QR code merchants and UnionPay QuickPass contactless acceptance points around the world will allow local Nets users to make QR code and contactless payments everywhere they go, including at key destinations such as Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand when they travel overseas."

Together with United Overseas Bank, Nets last year began rolling out some 2,000 integrated point-of-sale (POS) terminals at more than 650 retail stores across Singapore. The move was made to facilitate more payment options including Samsung Pay and Apple Pay.

Nets said it currently operated a network of 46,000 unified POS terminals and 60,000 QR acceptance points island-wide.

The Singapore government over the past year had ramped up efforts to drive e-payment adoption in the country, including plans to develop a universal QR code that supported both local and international payment options.

Going cashless was a "strategic enabler" to enhance business operations and offer more convenience for consumers, industry regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore had said, adding that it also was an important component of Singapore's smart nation efforts.

The government last October also revealed it was assessing other jurisdictions to determine if it should regulate e-payment surcharges to drive cashless adoption.