Singapore took its most significant step in its cashless drive by appointing Nets yesterday to bring e-payments to all 12,000 stalls at hawker centres, canteens and coffee shops with a single, unified system.
As the country's first "master acquirer", e-payment firm Nets will supply hawkers with hardware that can accept e-payments from 20 sources for a start, including e-wallets like Singtel Dash and GrabPay, transport cards ez-link and Nets FlashPay, and credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard. Nets will settle accounts with the hawkers, which means they no longer need to put up with the hassle of dealing with different e-payment firms.
The all-in-one e-payment terminals, which can read contactless and chip-based cards, and process QR code payments, will also be rented to hawkers for no charge for the first three years after they sign up with Nets. Transaction fees of 0.5 per cent will be borne by the Government during the period. Stalls have until August 2020 to apply for the fee waivers.
Nets said that it has not decided what the charges would be after the three years.
By addressing most of the obstacles cited by hawkers, including high transaction fees and having to deal with different firms to receive payments, the Government hopes to convince more hawkers to take the cashless leap. In Singapore, about 40 per cent of dining occasions take place at coffee shops, hawker centres and canteens.
Nets' appointment comes after Enterprise Singapore, the National Environment Agency and the Housing Board jointly called for bids from the industry in May.
Mr Ted Tan, deputy chief executive officer of Enterprise Singapore, said in a statement yesterday: "The Government is enhancing the dining experience by providing customers with a unified e-payment solution where transactions can be made easily, quickly and securely."
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