Slow but good progress towards becoming cashless society

From April, people will be able to tap their ez-link cards, including concession cards, on Nets terminals to pay for food and drinks in selected hawker centres.
From April, people will be able to tap their ez-link cards, including concession cards, on Nets terminals to pay for food and drinks in selected hawker centres.PHOTO: NETS

The long awaited news announced on Wednesday (Hawker centre meals set to be an EZ tap away; Jan 25), reinforced the Government's move towards becoming a cashless society.

Unfortunately, we are something like two decades behind Hong Kong where its ubiquitous Octopus card can be used for transactions ranging from food to entertainment.

The lethargic progress in Singapore is understandable - going cashless poses a challenge for Nets and EZ Link and if a commercially viable agreement is to be struck, it has to suit both parties.

For a start, to widen the acceptance of the ez-link card, there should not be a surcharge for topping up the value of the card at convenience stores like 7-11.

Presently, a surcharge of 50 cents is levied for each transaction.

Also, perhaps more avenues for topping up the card in housing estates will encourage more senior citizens to use it.

Richard Thong Kok Mun