Forum: Incentives for hawkers to go cashless not good enough

People like rewards because it is in their DNA. Without generous incentives, I am afraid that the enthusiasm for the Hawkers Go Digital programme may wear off before long (More hawkers are going cashless, but will it last?, Aug 24).

If Singapore wishes to motivate hawkers and consumers to go cashless under this programme, the bonus of $300 a month over five months that hawkers get when they sign up for the Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR) may need to be extended further.

At the same time, PayNow Corporate, consumers and hawkers should work together to achieve the desired outcome.

The secret to instilling consumer habits is to make the behaviour second nature, in this case, think of cashless payment as a culture which needs nurturing.

Stakeholders in the programme must collaborate over a long period of time. The lesson from Chinese digital payment providers WeChat Pay and Alipay offering generous incentives to users over a few years is the key to sustaining the cashless momentum in Singapore.

Also, stakeholders, especially the Government, need to understand the local demographic to emphasise simplicity and a people-oriented approach. The programme must be hassle-free and user-friendly.

The Government needs to sustain the current incentives to hawkers over a longer period while hawkers can chip in by offering discounts.

PayNow Corporate could entice consumers with generous incentives like "10 per cent rebate with minimum $500 spend each month" to reward consumers who adopt cashless payment.

The Government could offer concessions for hawkers' hard work with the assurance of no inference on past earnings - that is, claw back - to relieve their worries. Furthermore, income tax rate for hawkers could enjoy a higher threshold of $30,000 at zero per cent.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi