In the city of shopping, who doesn’t own their own credit or debit card?
If you are interested enough to tap into this article, you must be old enough to worry about your next payment purchase. Here’s everything to know about the ceasing of Wirecard in Singapore and how it is going to affect us.
But first, let’s understand this:
What Is Wirecard?
We know what PayWave and NETS are, but what about Wirecard?
Wirecard is a german digital payment processing company, and it essentially helps merchants and business to transmit the transaction amount to the acquirer. You could say that Wirecard is the middleman in your payment process that you’d never see.
It is responsible for dispatching transaction authorisation requests to the card scheme which is either Visa or Mastercard and then sends it on to the customer’s bank. In this way, Wirecard speeds up in-store transactions.
The company provides services to multiple big brand clients in Singapore, including payment of Electronic Road Pricing (ERP), EZ-Link funds top-up at the MRT, ComfortDelGro and Singtel Dash. International partners and clients include our favourite electronics brands Samsung and Apple.
Wirecard’s Asia-Pacific headquarters is located right here on our island at Pasir Panjang.
It’s that small machine that you tap your debit/credit cards and mobile wallets onto.
Who Will This Affect?
Wait, don’t worry. Before you read on, NETS, PayNow and SGQR will still be available to Singapore’s merchants.
This ceasing of operations will mostly only affect individual consumers that currently hold pre-paid cards from Wirecard.
Customers that are still using these cards should make an arrangement at a preferred bank to switch over.
However, this change will also affect merchants that have signed contracts with and operate with Wirecard. Merchants will no longer be able to accept Wirecard payments or carry out Wirecard transactions and are advised to also seek out alternatives.
Why Is It Ceasing?
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced on Wednesday, 30 September, that it has directed Wirecard entities here to cease their operations and services in Singapore.
In June, the company filed for bankruptcy after revealing that €1.9 billion ($3 billion) of the cash that was supposed to be in the Philippines bank accounts, was not available and non-existent. It did not have enough funds to cover the $3 billion wide discrepancies.
Wirecard has informed MAS previously that it will not be able to provide the service to a significant amount of merchants. Hence, MAS has given it direction to slowly cease operations in Singapore.
In February 2019, police raided Wirecard’s Singapore office after a report was filed about a finance team employee allegedly engaging in accounting breaches.
Following the fall of the payment giant, Singapore’s unemployment rate will be going up just a little bit more. At least this was not the effect of the pandemic.
I Am A Business Owner Operating On Wirecard, What Should I Do?
Don’t panic! There are many digital payment alternatives available in Singapore.
If you or your business has not made the necessary change yet, MAS encourages you to do so as soon as possible. This will greatly impact your business if it only accepts Wirecard.
But seriously, have you come across a business that just depends on, erm, Wirecard?
Of course, merchant acquisition services are provided by banks such as DBS, OCBC and United Overseas Bank. Apart from banks, Nets also provide those services.
The Payment Services (Exemption for Specified Period) Regulations 2019 provide a grace period between six months to a year. This grace period was implemented for firms and enterprises that provide certain regulated payment services to apply for relevant licences.
Businesses can also consider engaging other services that operate with mobile e-payment as it is very convenient and technologically advanced.
Wallets and cash? Pssh. That is so 2015. We are like, totally over it.
These days, all you need is a smartphone to complete most of your transactions, and that’s set to be more pronounced soon as Digital Ambassadors are going around Singapore to convince traditional businesses to switch to e-payment.
Now with payment options like GrabPay, PayLah, PayNow and many more, there is no longer a need to carry your bulky wallets out.
And people are using for a reason.
Payment schemes like GrabPay also allow you to earn points as you spend with them. By paying for your rides, food and shopping with GrabPay, you get to earn rewards points that you can even convert into KrisFlyer Miles.
We also heard that some enterprises offer cashback when you pay with PayLah. Did you know, even educational institutes such as Ngee Ann Polytechnic has gone completely cashless? You can pay for anything just by scanning a QR code! Simple and efficient.
Next time you go out, don’t forget to bring your mobile phones, and your wallets for now.