Singapore’s thriving economy and leading technology act as a magnet for entrepreneurs. Could Near Field Communication (NFC) technology be the key to running a successful business in this country?
Singapore is one of the leading and most successful economies in Asia, partly thanks to the country’s investment in new technologies and their widespread application to many aspects of everyday life. As it couldn’t be otherwise, Singapore has also been at the forefront of near field communications (NFC), a system that allows smartphones and other mobile devices to exchange data and to perform contactless transactions. Business owners who wish to start or progress a company in Singapore might do well to heed the potential of NFC payments and consider it holistically in order to secure the smooth running of their business. Below you can learn more about mobile payments, their advantages, and their future development in Singapore.
What are NFC payments?
Although NFC technology has been around since the early 2000s, the large-scale application of near field communications did not come into effect until 2010. NFC technology makes use of short range radio frequencies emitted by electronic devices. The advantages of this new technology soon became evident to merchants, public organisations, and local authorities in many countries around the world, especially since NFC technology can be used to improve e-commerce standards. NFC or mobile payment devices are now widespread in countries like the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, Finland, and Singapore, where the country’s three mobile communications providers (SingTel, StarHub, and M1) have enabled their devices so that they feature NFC technology.
The advantages of offering NFC payments
NFC payments have revolutionised the way commercial transactions are carried out. From the consumer’s point of view, one of the main advantages of this technology is the fact that it is no longer necessary to carry cash around. NFC technology provides users with a rechargeable virtual wallet, which can be used to make contactless payments in shops, public transit systems, and many other outlets. NFC payments also offer two very important elements for the general public: convenience and speed.
For business owners, the advantages of using mobile payment systems are also plentiful. Transaction times are greatly reduced as no cash handling is involved. This factor is particularly important for small businesses who may only have limited staff. Shorter waiting times translate into a greater numbers of customers being served, and a lower number of clients leaving a business because they prefer not to wait in a queue. Businesses using this technology can offer their clients a higher degree of data protection, as NFC payments eliminate the need to store credit card details and other personal information.
NFC payments in Singapore: what does the future hold?
Singapore’s small size is a crucial factor in the widespread adoption of NFC technology in the country. The three mobile phone operators in the country have worked together alongside the government to launch a nationwide initiative that will make mobile payments available virtually everywhere. Taxis, buses, trains, fast-food outlets, supermarkets, retailers, and entertainment venues are some of the many locations where NFC payments are now available. In only three months, more than 15,000 Singaporeans have switched to mobile devices that support NFC technology.
This new technology was on trial at various outlets throughout the country before being launched at large scale. The initial results and the enthusiastic public reception of this initiative are encouraging and suggest that in the short term, Singaporean consumers and businesses could benefit from extensive and innovative applications of NFC technology. Due to this reason, business owners operating in Singapore are urged to review the benefits of implementing NFC payments and to offer their clients cutting-edge technology everywhere, anywhere.
Kate is a business HR, now based in Singapore. Her clients include a rosta of Asian top 100 businesses, and she blogs about women in business on her blog.