Friday, July 19, 2013

Allow other forms of cashless payment

Published in Straits Times Online.

THERE is an ongoing dispute between taxi companies and Visa over the 10 per cent surcharge for fares paid with Visa cards ("Two more cab firms to no longer accept Visa"; last Saturday).

The withdrawal of Visa card payments will make it inconvenient for many commuters.

It would be fair for them to pay a small fee for the service, but the 10 per cent surcharge appears rather high.

Singapore has introduced platforms for payment through CashCards and ez-link cards. Surely, these could be used instead?

As they are pre-paid cards, there is no credit risk.

There is still a cost incurred to operate the platform, but this should be quite low and could be easily absorbed by the taxi companies.

This form of payment can also be used for online purchases, for example, air tickets for budget airlines.

Perhaps the key issue is in deciding on a fair charge where many parties are involved, namely, the public, businesses, banks and platform operators.

I suggest that the Monetary Authority of Singapore take the lead in this matter.

Tan Kin Lian
Financial Services Consumer Association

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