CEPAS, or Contactless e-Purse Application, describes the technical requirements for an e-purse smart card that can be used by different issuers and merchants.
The CEPAS provides the command sets and data bytes that can be used for contactless e-purse applications, and focuses on the debit and credit areas. The most recent version of the standard is CEPAS 2.0. The standard will allow the interoperability of multi-purpose stored value (MPSV) card payment schemes from different card issuers and system operators.
CEPAS is spearheaded by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), and is one of the key next generation e-Payment initiatives under Singapore's iN2015 infocomm masterplan led by IDA. The vision of CEPAS is for Singaporeans to have a single MPSV card for use all around Singapore for micro-payments. This includes transit (bus, MRT, LRT), taxi, motoring (ERP, parking), retail, and other services.
CEPAS is a result of close collaboration by IDA with different industry players and the Land Transport Authority (LTA). The other key collaborators are the Cards & Personal Identification Technical Committee (CPITC) under the Singapore IT Standards Committee (ITSC), Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS) and EZ-Link. CEPAS was published by SPRING Singapore as SS 518 and was officially launched during the CEPAS Launch & Next Generation e-Payment seminar on 27 June 2006, held at Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The current micro-payment landscape in Singapore is fragmented with different standards, with two main players, NETS and EZ-Link. EZ-Link controls the transit space and NETS controls the motoring (ERP, parking) space. On the retail space, NETS currently dominates this space, with EZ-Link having limited presence. Cards and readers from NETS and EZ-Link cannot currently interoperate and consumers hold different cards for payment of different services and goods.
With CEPAS, the micro-payment playing field will be leveled and opened up, creating an all-win situation for consumers, merchants, card issuers and system operators. CEPAS will bring together the different MPSV card payment schemes. Consumers in Singapore will enjoy ease and convenience of a single card for seamless and speedy contactless electronic payment of goods and services all around Singapore. For example, NETS card holders will be able to extend the use of their cards for transit payment and EZ-Link card holders their cards for retail and motoring payment. For merchants, card issuers and system operators, the overall operation cost will be lower, the usage of cards will be expanded to many different areas and the market space will be significantly larger. Furthermore, new card issuers and system operators can join in the same playing field, giving consumers more choices and driving up overall quality and value. CEPAS will be deployed nationwide in Singapore by 2010.
The commands in this standard follow the convention in ISO/IEC 7816-4: 2005. The main commands are "Read Purse", "Debit Purse" and "Credit Purse". The design allows for partial refund and is limited to the most recent amount debited. The "AutoLoad" and "Cumulative Debit" features are also available. In this standard, key management for controlling e-purse operations is flexible and the final details are decided by the card issuer. Atomicity is a key focus in this standard to ensure reliability of transactions across multiple interfaces.
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