About 40 per cent of dining occasions take place at hawker centres, coffee shops and canteens. It is strange therefore that the ambit of the cashless society had yet to be extended comprehensively to the 12,000 stalls operating in such premises and which Singaporeans patronise every day. But that is set to change with the announcement that e-payment service provider Nets has been appointed to bring e-payments to such stalls with a single, unified system. While many outlets accept such payments, Nets will supply hawkers with hardware that can accept e-payments from 20 sources for a start. Nets will settle accounts with the hawkers, which means they no longer need to deal with different e-payment firms individually.
Entrenching e-commerce in the everyday lives of citizens brings many benefits for both traders and customers that are recognised internationally. The reduction of transaction costs figures high on that list. According to an analysis presented by the Centre for Effective Global Action, based in the United States, such electronic payments are convenient because they remove the need to travel physically to a bank to deposit money. This also increases security by, for example, making it more difficult for employees to steal. Indeed, e-commerce increases sales by capturing clients from businesses nearby that do not accept card payments. These marginal benefits are important in the retail sector.