First Ever Common Internet Direct Debit Solution to be Launched in End-2002

Consumers and merchants to benefit from increased choice and business opportunities online. As early as the end of this year, consumers in Singapore will get to use the country's first, common Internet direct debit solution to pay for their online purchases...

Singapore, 13 March 2002 | For Immediate Release

Consumers and merchants to benefit from increased choice and business opportunities online.

 As early as the end of this year, consumers in Singapore will get to use the country's first, common Internet direct debit solution to pay for their online purchases. This is the key deliverable of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed this morning between Mr Wong Nang Jang, Chairman of BCS Information Systems Private Limited (BCSIS) and Mr Wee Tew Lim, Chief Executive Officer of Network for Electronic Transfers (Singapore) Pte Ltd (NETS). Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive for Online Development at the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), witnessed the signing.

The signing of this MOU marks the strategic intent of the two payment operators to interconnect their respective payment switches. This will significantly enrich the e-payment landscape in Singapore as merchants will now be able to link to BCSIS' or NETS' payment switch, to reach the customers of any of the participating banks connected to the two payment switches. Facilitated by IDA and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, this collaboration will also result in the development of a common e-payment platform that will serve as the basis for the offering of new and innovative payment services in Singapore.

This interconnection development is a critical milestone in Singapore's vibrant e-economy. It also paves the way for other emerging Internet and wireless solutions that rely on a common payment infrastructure, such as mobile commerce and Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment. Based on a report by the International Data Corp1, credit cards and cash-on-delivery are still the most commonly accepted modes of payment for online transactions. However, from IDA's dialogue with the banks and merchants, feedback gathered shows that there is demand for a common online direct debit platform in Singapore.

A common, bank-neutral platform will benefit banks, consumers and merchants in the e-payment value chain. At present, there are five banks2 connected to the two payment switches. Once the common direct debit solution is in place, more banks are likely to come on-board to leverage this shared payment infrastructure to reap economies of scale. For the consumers, it offers an alternative mode of online payment apart from credit cards and increases their choice of online merchants to transact with. For the merchants, online direct debit represents an additional channel to collect payments for online goods and services. Online merchants will also gain from the expanded business opportunities as they will have access to a wider base of customers.

"With this milestone collaboration between BCSIS and NETS, we foresee widespread usage of online direct debit as consumers realise the convenience offered by this payment mode. Once this common direct debit is in place at the end of the year, we would like to see all the commercial banks in Singapore connected to this shared payment infrastructure. Over time as adoption grows, this will drive up the volume of online transactions for Singapore. This initiative is also in line with the government's vision to implement a bank-neutral payment solution so that citizens with any of the participating banks can effect online direct debit payment for e-government services." said Dr Kaizad Heerjee, IDA's Assistant Chief Executive for Online Development.

"With this significant event of collaboration between the two internet payment switches, it will bring greater confidence and convenience to online shoppers. This will certainly help spur the growth of e-retailing and e-commerce in Singapore. " said Jimmy Quek, General Manager for BCS Information Systems Pte Ltd.

"This MOU signing today provides a model of how companies should work collaboratively to realise Singapore's goal of becoming a truly cashless society. To achieve this vision, we need to break down the barriers that are in our way - barriers such as proprietary systems, which stifle choice and breed the inefficiencies of duplication", said Mr Wee Tew Lim, Chief Executive Officer of NETS. "The direct debit interconnection will benefit consumers, merchants and banks and I am confident that the increased convenience and access will dramatically increase the use of online direct debit payments."


Notes to Editor :
1 Asia/Pacifc Internet Economy Bulletin Dec 2001, "Show Me the Money! Internet Pricing and Payment in Asia", Internet Data Corp.

2 Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC), Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank), Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation Limited (OCBC) and United Overseas Bank (UOB)
Internet Direct Debit allows customers a secure platform for direct deductions from their bank accounts when they make payment for their Internet transactions. Merchants' accounts are normally credited with the payment amount by day-end. The service is currently limited to use within Singapore only.

About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is a dynamic organisation with an integrated perspective to developing, promoting and regulating info-communications in Singapore. In the fast-changing and converging spheres of telecommunications, information and media technologies, IDA will be the catalyst for change and growth in Singapore's evolution into a vibrant global info-communications technology centre. For more information, please visit

About BCS Information Systems Pte Ltd (BCSIS)

BCS Information Systems Pte Ltd (BCSIS) is a fully owned subsidiary of OCBC Bank. BCSIS is a premier provider of payment, clearing and settlement solutions. Its expertises include providing technical, operational and project management know-how in developing, implementing and operating payment, clearing and settlement solutions. Among its accolades is its ability to implement nation-wide payment infrastructure as shown by its projects in Singapore and overseas. Its solutions continually evolve to meet the ever-changing demands of this fast-moving industry and to tap the benefits offered by the latest technologies. Some prominent projects undertaken by BCSIS in Singapore and overseas for national clearing houses and central banks include the Singapore eGIRO System, the Singapore Cheque Truncation System, the Real-Time Gross Settlement System in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Shenzhen and Hong Kong and the Deferred Net Settlement System in Brazil.

About Network for Electronic Transfers (Singapore) Pte Ltd (NETS)

NETS was founded in 1985 to operate and manage an on-line debit payment service. It has since grown from a single to a multi-service organisation, providing a comprehensive range of electronic payment services.

Based in Singapore, NETS is expanding internationally with a vision to be the preferred world-class solution provider for payment and processing services, accepting multi-media and multi-channel transactions on behalf of companies, institutions and individuals around the world. NETS products and services are currently marketed in the Philippines and South Korea.

NETS provides merchants, banks and consumers with fast and convenient electronic payment services for carrying out everyday transactions. With a willingness to push new technology frontiers, NETS is continuously developing new payment solutions to create an integrated multimedia platform that allows payments to be made seamlessly across mobile, wireless and physical arenas. With a growing range of payment services, NETS is poised to become the integrated payment gateway for Asia.

Find more information on NETS and its payment services at

For media clarification, please contact:

Ms CHIA Sher Ling
Manager,Corporate Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA)
Tel: (65) 6211-1840

Ms Aileen Ong
Manager, ePayments
BCS Information Systems Pte Ltd
Tel: (65) 6422-5175

Juliana Chua or Theresa Lee
Corporate Communications
Network For Electronic Transfers (Singapore) Pte Ltd
Tel: (65) 6374-0456 / 6374-0453
Fax: (65) 6272-2334
Email: or