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Singaporeans to Enjoy the Convenience of One Card for Electronic Payments - IDA, SPRING Singapore, LTA, and Industry Launch World's First Nationwide Interoperable Micro-Payment Platform Using Singapore Standard SS 518 CEPAS

Singaporeans will soon get to enjoy the ease and convenience of using one card to make seamless electronic payments (e-payment) for their everyday needs - from retail purchases to public transport payments.

Singapore, 27 June 2006 | For Immediate Release

Singaporeans will soon get to enjoy the ease and convenience of using one card to make seamless electronic payments (e-payment) for their everyday needs - from retail purchases to public transport payments.

This is made possible as a result of a collaboration spearheaded by IDA working closely with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the industry. Gazetted and published by SPRING Singapore as SS 518 CEPAS, the other key organisations in this collaboration are the Cards & Personal Identification Technical Committee (CPTIC) under the Singapore IT Standards Committee (ITSC), Network for Electronic Transfers Singapore Pte Ltd (NETS), and EZ-Link Pte Ltd.

The launch of the new Singapore Standard for Contactless ePurse Application, SS 518 CEPAS is a significant milestone. Available for industry use, SS CEPAS is a world's first in creating a nationwide interoperable micro-payment platform that bridges multiple sectors - in particular the transit and retail e-payment space. This standard also levels the playing field for more card issuers such as banks and merchants to participate in this e-payment space.

As infocomm continues to transform all sectors of our economy, e-payments will play a greater role in enabling next generation applications and transactions. The launch of SS CEPAS signifies IDA and industry's commitment to leverage on the e-payment landscape to work towards the goal of reducing the number of paper based transactions and doubling the annual value of transactions of card-based payments, e-money schemes and mobile payments - from S$24.6 billion to S$50 billion by 2010. This will result in market growth and create greater potential for exportable payment services to the region.

Significantly, CEPAS will allow interoperability of multi-purpose stored value card payment schemes such as the NETS CashCard and the ez-link card. When that happens, users can expect to enjoy the convenience of having a single card for making transit, motoring and retail payments instead of having multiple cards for different purposes. On the other hand, merchants and public service providers will also be able to deploy a single reader for their transaction processing, as opposed to having multiple readers.

Commenting on the significance of this development, Mr Chan Yeng Kit, CEO, IDA said, "CEPAS is one of the key pillars of the Next Generation e-Payment infrastructure outlined in iN2015, IDA's ten-year infocomm masterplan. It is a significant 'win-win-win' outcome for consumers, merchants, as well as card issuers. Consumers will be able to use one single card seamlessly for a wide range of payments. In addition, merchants avoid the cost of duplication involved in catering to multiple systems, and card issuers have access to a much larger nation-wide micro-payment space."

Setting the Standard

To ensure CEPAS' high roll-out and mass adoption, IDA has worked closely with CPITC and through SPRING Singapore gazetted the specifications as SS 518.

SPRING Singapore will encourage more enterprises, especially amongst the small and medium enterprises or SMEs, to use this standard.

This is important as Singapore needs to continually invest in electronic payment innovation and foster greater cooperation among the various payment platforms to open more solutions that can be used on a wider national scale. This will help boost market growth and create potential for exportable payment services to the region.

In addition, compared to existing smart cards, CEPAS has a beefed-up security feature to support multiple card issuers.

Mr Lin Yih, Chairman of CPITC said, "Singapore places great emphasis on high security for electronic payments. We have decided to embark on this new standard which is a culmination of atomicity, speed of operation, signed receipt, partial refund, auto-load and cumulative debit."

SPRING Singapore Chief Executive Mr Loh Khum Yean said, "As the national standards body, SPRING is privileged to publish and launch SS 518 CEPAS. This is a pioneering effort for e-Purse solutions, especially in the debit and credit areas because there currently are no international standards in this area.

"SS 518 CEPAS will benefit both industry and end users - by ensuring a level playing field for card issuers, higher security and more choices of service providers for consumers," Mr Loh added.

Deployment of SS CEPAS Compliant Cards

For a start, NETS, a key player in the financial sector has plans to roll out CEPAS compliant Combi CashCard for mass market use later this year. Like all CashCards managed by NETS, the CEPAS compliant Combi-CashCard will be jointly issued by local banks such as DBS, OCBC and UOB. Ms Jocelyn Ang, General Manager for CashCard and Financial Transaction Processing, NETS, said, "CEPAS is a specification that enables NETS to offer unmatched convenience for Singaporeans, by allowing a single unified payment system for the public transport, retail and motoring.

"Today, we have the technology and the capability to deliver the next generation of payment solutions. We are enthusiastic and ready to offer a solution which enables users to make payments for road tolls under the ERP framework, pay for public transport or make retail purchases.

In a nutshell, NETS supports a common standard so that consumers will benefit from more payment choices. The contactless capability of the Combi-CashCard would also enable NETS to enter new sectors like Quick Service Merchant outlets where transaction speed is important."

Travelling with Ease

This micro payment platform has received strong support from the industry.

Mr Leong Kwok Weng, Chief Engineer (Systems), LTA said, "LTA is currently developing a new generation IU which would be able to accept other contact-less smartcards besides the existing CashCards, whether these are issued by NETS, EZ-Link or any other card managers. The fare system of the upcoming Circle Line, to be completed in 2010, will also incorporate this new standard, while existing transit card readers will be changed to accept multiple card types issued by multiple card issuers over time."

EZ-Link is working with LTA and its partner QB on the adoption of SS CEPAS onto its existing system to allow the ez-link card scheme to be integrated into other market sectors such as ERP tolls and car parking. A single standard would, as a result, also give ez-link cardholders access to an even wider range of unparalleled benefits and offerings in the retail sector in general.

EZ-Link's Senior Vice President (Business and Technology) Mr Nicholas Lee said, "EZ-Link and QB strongly support the Singapore government's initiative to introduce the CEPAS standard. With the convergence of the different card schemes onto a common platform, the biggest winner will be the consumer, who gains not only convenience but also choice.

We look forward to the successful nationwide implementation of the CEPAS platform as it will provide ez-link cardholders hassle-free and seamless access to a variety of payment and non-payment services across all e-payment facilities. The resulting increase in ez-link card usage by consumers for their everyday transportation, shopping and motoring needs would naturally encourage more merchants to accept e-payments as their preferred means of settlement."

With the launch of SS CEPAS, Singapore"s Infocomm industry sets another significant milestone to ensure that our nation stays at the forefront of innovation in the e-payment market space. Moving forward, IDA and its partners will continue to work together to provide consumers new and innovative e-payment solutions of the future.


About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is committed to growing Singapore into a dynamic global infocomm hub. IDA uses an integrated approach to developing infocommunications in Singapore. This involves nurturing a competitive telecoms market as well as a conducive business environment with programmes and schemes for both local and international companies. For more information, visit

About SPRING Singapore

SPRING (Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board) Singapore's mission is to enhance the competitiveness of enterprises for a vibrant Singapore economy. We work to nurture a pro-business environment that encourages enterprise formation and growth; facilitate the growth of industries; enhance productivity and innovation and capabilities of enterprises; and help increase access to markets and business opportunities. Please visit for more information about SPRING Singapore.

About LTA

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) was formed in 1995 as a statutory board under the Ministry of Transport to spearhead all land transport developments in Singapore, including the road network and developing the rail infrastructure. LTA plans long-term transport needs of Singapore and aims to provide an efficient and cost-effective land transport system for all. Please visit for more information.

About 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 throughout Asia, including China, Hongkong and South East Asia. 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

About EZ-Link

EZ-Link Pte Ltd is a subsidiary of the Land Transport Authority, which was formed on 8 January 2002.  It is responsible for the sale, distribution and management of ez-link cards for use in transit and non-transit applications. EZ-Link Pte Ltd has appointed - Transit Link Pte Ltd as the agent to manage the use of ez-link cards on public transport and QB Pte Ltd to proliferate the use of the ez-link cards in the non-transit arena. For more information, visit

For media clarification, please contact:

Jenny NG
Senior Manager, Corporate & Marketing Communication
Tel: 6211-1341

Simeon CHEOK
Manager, Corporate & Marketing Communication
Tel: 6211-1726

SPRING Singapore
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
Tel: 6279-3617

Land Transport Authority
LIM Puay Keng
Corporate Communications Officer
Tel: 6396-1574

Theresa LEE
Customer Marketing & Communications
Tel: 6374-0453

Greg Danker
VP, Marketing & Communications
EZ-Link Pte Ltd
Tel: 6372-4335