NFC mobile wallet apps released in Singapore, gets thousands of downloads
September 25, 2012 by Terence LEE
It’s been over a month since the major Singapore telcos — SingTel, Starhub, and M1 — released their NFC mobile wallets. Altogether, these apps have amassed thousands of downloads. Yet reactions have been mixed.
News arrived last month that NFC payment would be unveiled in Singapore very soon. Digital security company Gemalto announced that the consortium it is leading was ready to launch the services.
The most downloaded app, a collaboration between SingTel and EZ-Link, is the most full-featured. It allows users to pay for services with using mobile phones at over 20,000 points islandwide. Users can also top up their electronic wallet using their credit card directly through the app.
Yet it has received mostly negative reviews, complaining about error messages, crashes, and the inability to exit.
All 3 apps require an NFC-enabled phone and NFC-ready SIM card. EZ-Link’s app supports the most phone models, including the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Sony Experia S, and the LG P-700 Optimus.
While the Singapore government has been actively pushing for NFC adoption in the country, there’s no telling how long the technology will take to become mainstream.
After all, the number of phone models with NFC capability remains limited, and users will need to undergo the hassle of heading to a telco shop to get an NFC-enabled SIM card. There’s also no indication how hard the telcos are pushing NFC technology to new phone subscribers.
But perhaps the biggest barrier to adoption is the fact that the iPhone 5 does not have an NFC chip. And the next iteration of the iPhone is still a year away.
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE