EZ-Link revamps Trust programme with new app , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

EZ-Link revamps Trust programme with new app

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A programme that protects consumers' spa package prepayments is going digital in an effort to woo more businesses and consumers to come on board.

EZ-Link's Trust programme, an initiative by the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), was launched in 2015 after a spate of sudden business closures that left customers out of pocket.

Its revamp four years later follows slow adoption of the scheme and the beauty industry being thrust back into the spotlight after being named the top source of consumer complaints last year.

For example, the sudden closure of the Traditional Javanese Massage Hut chain last year saw consumers lose nearly $200,000 in prepaid unutilised sessions.

Under Trust, participating beauty firms do not hold on to the lump sum package payments that customers make. Instead, the amount goes into a fund managed by EZ-Link and is paid to the operator each time a session is redeemed.

If the business goes bust, EZ-Link will return the unused funds to the customer. It has so far reimbursed customers several thousand dollars after the sudden closure of four operators.

The previously issued Trust card will now be replaced by the Trust app, which was launched yesterday.

An app and web portal to help merchants cut through some of the hassle and allow them to display their menu and promotions was also rolled out at an event at the Parkroyal on Pickering hotel.

Under the CaseTrust scheme for the industry, accredited businesses that collect prepayments are required to either insure its customers against sudden closures or sign up for Trust.

But after four years, only about 50 of 300 accredited businesses that provide prepayment protection are currently using Trust.

The problem?

Clunky hardware and convincing merchants to park their sales with Trust rather than using the money to finance their cashflow, according to EZ-Link's chief executive Nicholas Lee.

Mr Lee said that the revamped digital platform aims to address the "logistical stumbling blocks" and incentives for spa and wellness operators.