Two foreign banks operating in Singapore will be the first to use a service launched on June 21 that enables consumers to shop using their ATM and debit cards, according to Card Alliance Pte. Ltd., which is providing the service.

In Singapore, holders of ATM and debit cards of foreign banks historically have only been able to withdraw cash from ATMs. Only cardholders from three local banks–OCBC Bank Ltd., United Overseas Bank Ltd. and DBS Bank Ltd–have been able to make debit purchases through NETS, or Network for Electronic Transfers (Singapore). The three banks own the network.

The new service, called Epins, enables cardholders of Maybank Singapore and Citibank Singapore to make PIN-debit payments at such major retail merchants as Cold Storage and Shop N Save, select 7-Eleven stores, Singapore Post and Courts. The service is available at 367 retail outlets deploying 1,200 POS terminals in Singapore. Terminal deployments will increase to 10,000 by the end of the year, according to a Card Alliance statement.

Card Alliance declined to comment on how much merchants pay to accept Epins transactions or to disclose any additional information.

Card Alliance plans to broaden the Epins service by the end of the year to include cash-back options at the point of sale and top-up services for various types concession cards for students and senior citizens and for ez-link (Singapore’s contactless transit card).

The cash-back service will enable cardholders to withdraw cash in excess of the sale amount, significantly increasing the number of locations where customers access cash from the accounts, according to Card Alliance.

U.S.-based Citi has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 140 countries. Malaysia-based Maybank started its operations in Singapore in 1960 and operates 22 branches and five offsite ATMs in Singapore.



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