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Network for Electronic Transfers is launched 18th Jan 1986

Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS) is an electronic payment service provider formed in 1985 to spearhead the nation-wide implementation of Electronic Funds Transfer at Point-Of-Sale (EFTPOS) in Singapore.[1] The private limited company was set up by a consortium of five local banks comprising the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), Overseas Union Bank (OUB), United Overseas Bank (UOB) and the Post Office Savings Bank (POSB).[2] The introduction of EFTPOS was seen as a big step forward in Singapore’s drive towards a cashless society.[3]

The EFTPOS service allows shoppers to pay for their purchases using their automated teller machine (ATM) cards instead of cash. The payment process involves first swiping the ATM card through a NETS machine and then entering the card holder’s personal identification number (PIN), which authorises the debit of the sale amount from the card holder’s bank account.[4]

NETS was first introduced as a two-month pilot project on 27 June 1985.[5] It involved 10,000 ATM card holders from the five local banks and 64 terminals installed at participating government offices, supermarkets, department stores and petrol kiosks.[6] The trial was later extended to 100,000 card holders.[7]

NETS was officially launched island-wide on 18 January 1986, enabling some 1.3 million ATM card holders to make transactions through 195 NETS terminals located at 84 retail outlets in departmental stores, supermarkets, petrol stations, government departments and restaurants.[8] The initiative was a success and by 1993, consumer spending through NETS had crossed the S$1 billion mark.[9]

Today, NETS has evolved into a service provider of other payment systems such as stored value cash cards, self-service payment kiosks and online credit card payment systems.[10]

1. Torreja, M. L. (2001). The payment and settlement systems in the SEACEN countries (Vol.2, p. 297). Kuala Lumpur: South-East Asian Central Banks, Research and Training Centre. Call no.: RBUS 332.0959 TOR.
2. Fernandez, M. (1985, March 15). Use your bank card to shop from June. The Straits Times, p. 23. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Lim, J. (1984, April 1). You can go shopping soon without cash or credit cards. The Sunday Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Conrad, R. (1984, February 26). Just one card will pay all your bills. The Sunday Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Cashless shopping. (1985, June 27). Singapore Monitor, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. The Straits Times, 15 Mar 1985, p. 23.
7. Tan, C. H. (2005). Financial markets and institutions in Singapore (p. 85). Singapore: Singapore University Press. Call no.: RSING 332.1095957 TAN; Cashless shopping launch on Jan 18. (1985, December 30). The Straits Times, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Soh, D. (1986, January 19). A tentative start to a cashless shopping era. The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Soh, T. K. (1993, January 21). Nets rings up record $1.14b in consumer spending. The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Torreja, 2001, Vol. 2, p. 297; Network for Electronic Transfers (Singapore). (n.d.) NETS. Retrieved August 27, 2013, from NETS website: http://www.nets.com.sg


The information in this article is valid as at 2013 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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