The CashCard is a stored-value card made by NETS. It was launched in Singapore in 1996; since then, more than 6 million cards have been issued. It is different from the newer EZ-Link card because it is contact-based and requires insertion into a card reader to perform a transaction, whereas the EZ-Link card does not. Also, the stored value in CashCards must be topped up manually once it is depleted, whereas EZ-Link cards may be topped up automatically once the stored value is depleted.
Cashcards can be purchased with an initial stored value of S$5
or $20. When the card is used for a transaction, the amount to be paid will be deducted from this value. Once the initial value has been completely used up, customers can top up the value in the card at any ATM
, designated NETS terminal, AXS station or even CashCard terminal. Typical top-up values include $10, $20 and $50 or till maximum of $500. The card is usable until its expiry date, which is usually 5 years from the date of manufacture, or when it is refunded at a NETS linked ATM or bank branch. After the card has expired, another 2 years will be given for withdrawals of remaining value in the card.
A CashCard costs $2 more than its stored value; the extra $2 is a deposit used to cover NETS' service and manufacturing costs. When the card is refunded, the remaining stored value together with the deposit will be credited into the customer's bank account. After that, it will be returned to the customer, and cannot be used.
A record of recent transactions is stored inside the CashCard. This record can be displayed and printed at an ATM.
CashCards are predominantly used for paying Electronic Road Pricing fees. Other uses of the card include payment of parking fees, photocopying costs, public telephone usage, and lottery tickets. Stores that accept NETS as a mode of payment also accept the CashCard.
To support CashCard transactions, a store must have a terminal device that reads and updates the card balance. Unlike NETS transactions, CashCard transactions are carried out without accessing banks' servers. The device deducts the amount from the CashCard's stored value and stores the transaction details in a log file
. After a period of time, a bank officer will collect the log file for verification. If it has not been tampered with, the total amount recorded in the log file is transferred to the store's bank account.
The cashcard is, in fact, an embedded system
. It is a smart card
that has its own 8-bit microprocessor
, a ROM
to store smart-card related features, a RAM
where temporary data is stored, and most importantly, an EEPROM
where the manufacturer stores certain programs that determine how the cashcard behaves. Information about the card, current balance and recent transaction log are also stored on the EEPROM. When the card is refunded, all data on its EEPROM is cleared, making the card no longer usable.
Like many other smart cards, the cashcard conforms to the ISO 7816 standard.