This morning I had a challenging start to the day, not only was it a Monday, but my NETS FlashPay Card was down to less than one dollar. Which means I can't access public transport until I top it up. So I jumped on the Bus with the aim of paying cash, so I could get to the MRT station where I could top up my card. But… Singaporean buses don't accept anything over a Two Dollar note, I only had a Ten. Frustrated, I now had to walk in Singapore's humid morning to the 7-Eleven, roughly half way to the MRT Station. During those 15 minutes I kept thinking in amazement that a bus driver was unable to accept anything more than a two-dollar note. He wasn't even willing to let me ride the bus to the MRT station so I could top-up.
Upon arriving at 7-Eleven I hit a major Eco-System limitation with NETS. You can only Top-Up your NETS FlashPay with Cash, you can't use your NETS Card. In complete amazement, I had to now walk out the front of the building to get cash, so I could come back an pay cash to top-up my card. Why would a domestic scheme create such a situation where one of their products can't interact with another? I associate the ideas with imagining you couldn't pay your VISA Credit Card off using your VISA Debit Card. Thus leaving me a super frustrated consumer.
After loosing close to 45 minutes working my way around the various constraints of the system, it leaves me pondering a key question: What is NETS thinking? Have they completely lost any concept of what it means to be a scheme provider? Why would they create products and services that require the consumer to juggle the end-points? I am complete lost as to how such a constraint even exists, surely I am not the only person to come across this.
If you are going to build a domestic scheme eco-system you need to ensure you encapsulate all the eco-systems end-points. Your value adds to the flow of money is meant to be secure customer convenience, not to create more challenges. So I end this blog note with a message to the NETS scheme in Singapore. I strongly suggest you re-evaluate the gaps in your current service offering, you need to ensure you give the consumer end-to-end convenience. Not just deliver where you've been able to negotiate favorable commercial agent agreements. Remember it's your brand on the back of all these products, so the consumer will judge NETS, not 7-Eleven, not Guardian and not the MRT. NETS are responsible for end-to-end experience and convenience. Taking this into account might actually help create a more complete and completive offering.