Few tapping smartphones to pay

Few tapping smartphones to pay

Sign-ups for a government- backed system that lets consumers pay for goods and services by tapping their mobile phones have been slow.

Since the launch of the mobile payment system using Near Field Communication (NFC) wireless technology last August, only about 15,000 people have upgraded their phones to pay for meals, groceries and taxi rides, sources told The Straits Times.

Of this number, only about half paid for the SIM card upgrade required to use the service; the other half were given the SIM cards free in various telco promotions.

Many consumers are holding out for what they described as the "killer" application - payment for bus and train rides.

Also, most of the smartphones here are not "certified" to work on the system.

Some users feel that until mobile payment is accepted on buses and trains, they would not rush to upgrade their phones.

"I still prefer to use cash to pay for small items like food and cab rides," said businessman Paddy Tan, 38.

Others said they are held back by limited handsets that work with the local payment system.

Today, consumers can choose from fewer than 10 models of NFC phones from Samsung and Sony - including Samsung Galaxy S III and Sony Xperia S - that are certified to work with the mobile payment system.

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