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Cirrus, Maestro, NETS, PLUS, CEPAS, EZ-Link, TransitLink: What These Icons On The Back Of Your Cards Mean

You see them every day without paying much attention. But, do you know what they mean?


Most of us probably carry multiple cards in our wallets for making payments, but we may not be completely aware of the full capabilities of what each of these cards can do.

In addition to their primary function of being a credit card, debit card, ATM card, or a stored value card for transportation, our cards could actually have other useful and interesting functions, as denoted by the icons on the back of them.

Here are some of the common icons you may find at the back of your cards, along with what they mean.

Read Also: Here’s Why You Should Always Choose Credit Cards Over Debit Cards

#1 Cirrus

The shape of the Cirrus logo looks vaguely familiar, which is expected, since the Cirrus global ATM network is a subsidiary of Mastercard.

Where You Can Use It:

  • ATMs (local and overseas) with the Cirrus logo

What This Means For You:

If your Mastercard debit / credit card has this logo you can make cash withdrawals by entering your card and pin at any Cirrus ATMs.

Withdrawals made with a credit card are, however, considered as cash advances–– a form of short-term loan. Doing so poses a few disadvantages to you. Cash advances come with hefty fees, withdrawal limits and an immediate accrual of interest.

You may want to think twice about using your credit card for cash withdrawals with an overseas ATM, unless you are desperately in urgent need of cash and are fully aware of the costs involved.

Read Also: Forgot Your ATM Card? Here Are 3 Ways To Still Withdraw Cash In Singapore

#2 Maestro

Maestro is Mastercard’s brand of debit cards. You can use Maestro debit cards to make ATM withdrawals and purchases internationally.

Fun fact–– the logos for Mastercard, Cirrus and Maestro are variations of 2 similarly intersecting circles because they portray how each brand functions as an interbank network.

Where You Can Use It:

  • ATMs (local and overseas) with the Maestro logo
  • Point-Of-Sale (POS) terminals with the Maestro logo

What This Means For You: If your debit card has the Maestro logo, you can enter your card and pin at compatible ATMs for cash withdrawals. You can also make transactions at Maestro merchants by entering your pin at compatible POS terminals.

#3 PLUS

The Visa card network has an ATM-based subsidiary known as the Plus system. This links all Visa products to any Plus systems globally. The competitor of the Plus system is the Cirrus network.

Where You Can Use It:

  • ATMs (local and overseas) with the Plus or Visa logo

What This Means For You: If your debit, credit or ATM Visa card has the Plus or Visa logo, you can withdraw cash at all ATMs bearing the Plus logo by entering your card and pin. Just like the Cirrus network, you should be aware that using your Plus credit card to make a cash withdrawal at a Plus ATM is considered as a cash advance which may incur extra charges.

Additionally, the Visa network links products from different financial institutions. This may mean that you withdraw cash from an ATM that is under a different financial institution from the one that issued your card.

If you withdraw cash from an ATM under a different bank (from the one that issued your credit card), you may also incur extra interbank fees on top of overseas withdrawal charges.

#4 NETS

NETS is a local electronic payment service provider set up by a group of banks to establish the debit network in Singapore. It is owned by DBS Bank, OCBC Bank, and United Overseas Bank (UOB).

The NETS (Network for Electronic Transfers) logo appears on cards that are compatible with a NETS terminal–– a cashless payment option through a local debit network. The NETS logo with the WIFI-looking symbol represents the same service, with added contactless payment functionality.

Where You Can Use It:

  • NETS terminals

What This Means For You: You can make debit transactions by entering your NETS card into a NETS terminal with your pin. For NETS contactless cards, you just need to wave your card into the terminals of merchants with this decal. There is no need to enter your pin for transactions below $100. There are also no added charges for paying through NETS.

Read also: Beginner’s Guide To Cashless Payment Platforms In Singapore

#5 NETS Flashpay

NETS FlashPay cards are a contactless, multipurpose stored value card that can be used for your transport needs. This differs from NETS as you do not need to enter your pin in order to process each  transaction. Additionally, the funds for each transaction are not debitted from your bank account, but from the stored value wallet within your card.

It can also be used for shopping and retail micro payments. You have to activate your wallet at General Ticketing Machines at MRT stations. Afterwhich, auto top-ups or top-ups via an app are possible.

There are standalone NETS FlashPay cards, but cards with the logo means that NETS FlashPay wallet functionality can be unlocked. This means that a credit card with this logo can function both as a credit card and a stored value NETS FlashPay card.

Where You Can Use It:

  • Transit (MRT / Buses)
  • ERP gantries
  • EPS (CEPAS-compliant) car park exits

What This Means For You: Wave your NETS FlashPay card at any of these compatible merchants to make payment, as long as you have sufficient stored value in your card. For ERP gantries and EPS, payment is deducted automatically through your In-vehicle Units (IU).

Read Also: Why Is The Government So Adamant About Going Cashless?

#6 CEPAS

The CEPAS logo on the back of your bank card means that your card is compliant for use as a CEPAS electronic smart money card. CEPAS stands for “Contactless E-purse Application”.

CEPAS is a network that standardises the interoperability of multi-purpose stored value card payment schemes from different card issuers and system operators. Examples of CEPAS-compatible cards include NETS cards, NETS FlashPay cards and EZ-Link cards.

Where You Can Use It:

  • Transit (MRT / Buses)
  • ERP gantries
  • EPS (CEPAS-compliant) car park exits

What This Means For You: Tap your card for transport use, or insert it into your IUs for ERP and EPS charges. As it is a stored value card, ensure that you have enough funds inside or the transaction will not go through.

#7 EZ-Link

Cards with the EZ-link logo are another type of contactless, store value card. Interestingly, they were the first contactless, stored value card enabled for transport use.

Over the years, EZ-Link cards have grown to be accepted at an increasing variety of merchants. They are also compliant with the new dual-mode IUs, which means they are now acceptable for ERP and EPS payments.

Like NETS FlashPay cards, EZ-Link cards can be standalone cards. However, your cards can also be enabled for EZ-Link’s stored value and contactless payment functionality if it has the EZ-Link logo.

Where You Can Use It:

  • Transit (MRT/ buses)
  • ERP gantries
  • EPS (CEPAS-compliant) car park exits
  • 7-Eleven convenience stores
  • Supermarkets
  • Taxis (Premier, SMRT, Comfort and CityCab taxis)
  • Community clubs
  • Government services
  • Educational institutes
  • Hawker centres, and some f&b outlets
  • Vending services
  • VEP payments (toll charges)

What This Means For You: Transactions are automatically processed and deducted when you wave your card at compatible merchants and terminals.

Read also:EZ-Link App: Complete Guide To All The Benefits You Can Enjoy

#8 ERP

Cards with the ERP logo mean that they are compatible with your IUs for payment at ERP gantries, and for EPS payments. It is important to note that ERP is not an e-wallet or platform. Like CEPAS, it just indicates that your card is compatible with ERP. The stored value function of your card is a separate feature.

Where You Can Use It:

  • ERP gantries
  • EPS car park exits

What This Means For You: Insert your card into your IU and ERP fees as well as carpark payments are automatically deducted, if there is sufficient stored value in your card.

#9 TransitLink

The Transitlink logo means that the card can be used at any Transitlink ticket offices or related facilities, such as General Ticketing Machines. TransitLink is a subsidiary of the Land Transport Authority (LTA). They provide transit-related services and distribute 2 types of stored value cards: EZ-Link cards and NETS FlashPay cards.

Where You Can Use It:

  • TransitLink ticket offices
  • General Ticketing Machines

What This Means For You: You can enable features such as EZ-Reload or purchase concession for your card at Transitlink kiosks. Just enter your EZ-Link or NETS FlashPay-enabled card at these kiosks (found at MRT stations) and follow the instructions on the screen.

Read also: Best Way To Pay For Your Public Transportation – EZ-Link, EZ-Reload, SimplyGo

#10 High Temp

This logo simply means that the card can withstand high temperatures of at least to 50 to 60 degrees celsius.

This is useful in case your card is accidentally exposed to the elevated temperatures of the dryer or your car dashboard. Heat exposure can cause your card to bend or warp, which would make it hard to enter it into a card reader.

In more extreme cases, heat exposure can damage the electronic chip in your card, rendering it ineffective.

Where You Can Use It:

  • There are no use cases for this

What This Means For You: Nothing. Although, this isn’t reason to go putting your cards into the microwave as an experiment.

#11 WIFI-Looking Logo

Having the WIFI symbol on the card means that your cards are contactless and do not need to be swiped or dipped into a point-of-sale machine.

Where You Can Use It:

  • Any merchant or POS terminal that accept contactless payments

What This Means For You: Just tap your card at the contactless terminal for payments to be processed.

Read Also: Meet The Singaporean Family Who Are Living Almost Entirely Cashlessly

Cards Continue To Evolve And Be Enhanced Over Time

Interestingly, most of these logos have grown to have overlapping functions as payment systems develop and cashless payments become more prevalent, or come under streamlined standardisations such as CEPAS.

For instance, cards with Transitlink, CEPAS, EZ-link and ERP logos can be used almost interchangeably as EZ-Link, ERP or EPS cards irrespective of their logos.

For credit and debit cards, the interbank functions are almost standardised for each brand. It’s almost a given that Mastercard cards bear the Cirrus and/or Maestro logo, while Visa cards will usually have the Plus logo.

Read Also: A Cashless Future: Why Our Children Will Learn The Value Of Money Differently, And Why That’s Okay

How many of these icons can you spot on your cards? And, have you encountered others that we did not cover? Let us know on our Facebook page!

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