High electronic payment surcharges work against S'pore's cashless ideal

I recently booked a Maxi Cab from Comfort for five passengers to Changi Airport.

The total taxi fare came up to $54, including the $18 booking fee. Why does the booking fee for a Maxi Cab amount to a third of the total fare?

On arrival at the airport, I asked the driver whether I could use my credit card or Apple Pay. He told me that it was possible, but I would be subjected to a 17 per cent surcharge, comprising a 10 per cent service fee and 7 per cent commission.

If I had decided to use my credit card, I would have had to pay about $63 in total, of which around $27 (booking fee,service fee and commission fee) would have gone to Comfort. This would have amounted to a substantial 44 per cent of the total taxi fare.

If Singapore aims to catch up with cashless societies like China, how can service providers be allowed to take advantage of electronic payments?

In this competitive market, it is rare to see such a high gross margin made by a service provider. Comfort should provide an explanation for these charges.

I also urge the Government to enact regulations to prevent such profiteering from service providers or merchants. Such practices will undoubtedly work against our nation's objective in becoming a modern cashless society.

Koh Kah Yeok

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2018, with the headline 'High electronic payment surcharges work against S'pore's cashless ideal'. Print Edition | Subscribe