The NETS Disruption Earlier This Month Was Caused By Human Error

I like to think that I’m a pretty self-reliant individual, but even then I have three things I absolutely can’t go without:

Food, water and my NETS card.

Image: Imgflip

Like, really. I mean c’mon; who even uses cash nowadays? As my colleague would so wisely put it, that’s for peasants.

Yet, that mindset’s also why I had the biggest shock of my life on 2 February, when I discovered that there was an island-wide NETS service disruption.

Image: The New Paper
Image: NETS Facebook Page

Granted, the disruption only lasted one hour…

Image: NETS Facebook Page

B-But still, that one hour was pure torture…

Image: Imgflip

Human Error

Well, guess what? NETS has uncovered the true reason behind the disruption, and it’s a surprisingly preventable one:

Human error.

“We have completed investigations into the cause of the incident and concluded that the incident resulted from an inadvertent human error during system maintenance, which disrupted Nets EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale) connection to our participating banks,” the e-payment giant said.

Nets then admitted that an error should not have occurred, and apologised for the disruption.


Following the incident, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a statement, saying it “takes a serious view of all incidents affecting the availability of critical payment systems, such as the EFTPOS services operated by Nets”.

It then told Nets to submit a detailed investigation report to the authority (reminds me of a teacher giving her class homework), adding that supervisory action might be taken if needed after a review has been conducted.

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NETS has since submitted the report, and has also hired an independent consultant to “validate and further enhance its processes to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents”.

Owned by DBS Bank, OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank, NETS operates the country’s oldest system, dubbed EFTPOS.

This 30-year-old payment scheme allows consumers to use their ATM cards for straightforward deductions from their bank accounts at a projected 100,000 acceptance points islandwide.


Honestly speaking, I’ve always taken cashless payment systems for granted. It has become a routine for me, you know. It’s something you would expect to operate like clockwork, day in day out, without any pauses.

But this incident just serves to knock some sense into me.

After all, as a wise old man once said…

“You never know what’s important, until you’ve lost it.”

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Featured image: The New Paper