Make QR codes easier to generate for e-payment

A customer using the DBS PayLah! mobile payment app at a hawker centre in Toa Payoh.
A customer using the DBS PayLah! mobile payment app at a hawker centre in Toa Payoh.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

My bad experience with e-payments is slightly different from Mr Lim Teck Koon's (Onus on banks to teach retailers how to use payment platforms, July 4).

The various e-payment apps in Singapore are geared towards scanning a QR code, which is fine when paying at hawker centres. If a particular QR code is displayed by the hawker, you just scan it and pay.

The problem comes when you are paying at a retailer with electronic terminals and there is no QR code in sight. The QR code is generated by the electronic terminal, but often the cashier does not know how to generate it.

I have approached a couple of cashiers with the NetsPay app, and they all said that if I want to pay by Nets, I have to insert an ATM card and key in a PIN. Even the Nets hotline was unable to tell me how to tell the cashiers how to generate the QR code for NetsPay.

For the terminals used by Giant, Cold Storage and Sheng Siong, the trick is to ask to pay by UnionPay and then tap the NetsPay icon on the payment terminal to generate the QR code.

When I first used this method to pay, the cashier said that she was not aware that this is possible. I don't blame her. Who would have thought of asking to pay by UnionPay in order to pay via the NetsPay app?

I don't understand why the procedure is so abstruse and we have to subsume our local payment method under a foreign one.

Of course, the procedure to generate a NetsPay QR code is different for terminals used by other retailers, like FairPrice.

Why can't each terminal, regardless of type, have a function to generate the QR code without going through all this rigmarole?

It is time terminal issuers made things simple for both the cashier and the consumer. The consumer should just need to tell the cashier whether he wants to scan or tap and not have to specify anything else. The back-end computer can then either accept or reject the payment.

Phua Kok Hee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 09, 2019, with the headline 'Make QR codes easier to generate for e-payment'. Print Edition | Subscribe