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The Future Of e-Payments

25 April 2007 - Keynote Address By Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore At the Opening Ceremony of The 12th Annual Cards Asia Exhibition and Conference 2007 As Guest-Of-Honour, Suntec International Convention And Exhibition Centre.

Keynote Address By Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore At the Opening Ceremony of The 12th Annual Cards Asia Exhibition And Conference 2007 As Guest-Of-Honour on 25 April 2007, Suntec International Convention And Exhibition Centre.

Good morning,
Mr Francis Widmer, Commercial Counsellor, French Embassy Trade Commission,
Mr Richard Ireland, Chief Executive Officer, Terrapin,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.


1. It is my pleasure to be here today to officiate at the opening ceremony of Cards Asia 2007. The theme of the event “Investing in a Smart Future” is one that is very close to our hearts. For it is what Singapore has always been doing, and will continue to do so. The last twenty five years of investment into infocomm technologies has borne fruits. It has transformed Singapore. The next lap will be even more exciting as infocomm technologies permeate even further into every single facet of our lives.

Singapore's e-Payment Journey

2. Take our retail payment landscape as an example. Twenty-five years ago, retail transactions were mainly paper-based, via notes and coins. Since then, our payment landscape has evolved into one that comprises a diverse range of cashless payment systems and instruments, giving both merchants and consumers a whole new dimension of buying and selling.

Today’s Landscape

3. Today, Singapore is recognised as amongst the leading nations in e-payments. The 2006 e-Readiness rankings by EIU placed Singapore as one of the top countries in Asia, together with Korea and Japan, in terms of internet commerce.

Where IDA Fits In

4. As innovations continue to shape developments in payments, we cannot afford to stand still. Moving forward, IDA aims to leverage infocomm to catalyse and spur electronic payment transactions across all sectors of the economy, including new market spaces that were previously not served.

5. The future should be one where a consumer can have access to a suite of payment solutions, to conveniently and securely transact with anyone, anytime and anywhere. It should also be one where a merchant, whether a physical retailer or a digital vendor, can have access to cost-effective means and channels to engage and transact with its customers.

Strategy and Programmes

6. For that to happen, first, IDA will work closely with the industry to put in place enabling infrastructures to accelerate the rollout of new or improved payment services.

7. In particular, we see potential in leveraging Near Field Communications (NFC) to enable new forms of interactions and transactions. The success is, however, dependent on the ability to get the multiple stakeholders like the telecom operators and payment service providers to work closely together to implement a win-win solution for all. IDA hopes to engage the industry to agree on a common standard and put in place a common infrastructure to allow payment applications to be provisioned conveniently and cost effectively to users.

8. Second, IDA will focus on promoting the adoption of interoperable electronic payments solutions. Achieving a critical mass of adoption amongst retailers is key in driving usage amongst consumers. Hence, IDA will work with industry to influence and convert merchants that currently transact using cash to adopt e-payment solutions. To further facilitate adoption, we will also encourage the adoption of common standards amongst payment service providers, so that consumers can enjoy an environment where payment cards can be used interchangeably at merchant points. In this regard, some headway has already been made. Since the launch of the Contactless E-Purse Applications Specification standard (CEPAS) by IDA, together with SPRING Singapore, LTA, and the industry in June 2006, a series of CEPAS technical workshops have been organised to ensure interoperability among CEPAS-compliant devices. LTA has also announced plans to upgrade its transit payment infrastructure to incorporate CEPAS to accept payment cards from multiple issuers.

9. Third, IDA will support the development and deployment of other innovative solutions for online commerce. In particular, solutions that meet the emerging needs of the new digital world and enable digital content transactions by anyone across any age group. Those who do not hold credit cards, in particular the younger tech-savy adults, provide many opportunities.

10. Finally, recognising the importance of trust in any transaction, IDA will promote stronger confidence in e-transactions. Besides relying on the National Trust Council to help promote greater safety, assurance, reliability and hence public confidence in electronic commerce, IDA is evaluating possible options of implementing a National Authentication Framework to enable the government and businesses to offer more secured e-services by leveraging on a common, trusted identification and strong authentication mechanism.


11. These programmes and many more to come are the results of our interactions with the industry, which helped envisioned our iN2015 masterplan, Singapore’s 10-year ICT roadmap. We look forward to engage the industry even more closely, to realise our vision.

12. On this note, I wish you all a fruitful event ahead. Thank you.