Tide turning for soya bean seller who adopted cashless system

When Mr Goy Thuan Heng introduced cashless payments at his soya bean stall in West Coast Hawker Centre five years ago, few customers used the cashless system. But he now makes around 10 cashless transactions daily with a peak of more than 20 during w
When Mr Goy Thuan Heng introduced cashless payments at his soya bean stall in West Coast Hawker Centre five years ago, few customers used the cashless system. But he now makes around 10 cashless transactions daily with a peak of more than 20 during weekends.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
When Mr Goy Thuan Heng introduced cashless payments at his soya bean stall in West Coast Hawker Centre five years ago, few customers used the cashless system. But he now makes around 10 cashless transactions daily with a peak of more than 20 during w
MR S. ISWARAN, Minister for Communications and Information.

When Mr Goy Thuan Heng introduced cashless payments at his soya bean stall in West Coast Hawker Centre five years ago, it was more trouble than it was worth at first.

"No one used the cashless system for most days in the first one to two years, at most there were one to three customers," said the 57-year-old in Mandarin yesterday. "I also had to pay a monthly fee of $28 for the device and the payment options were limited."

The tide is slowly turning, with Mr Goy now making around 10 cashless transactions daily with a peak of more than 20 during weekends - about 3 per cent to 5 per cent of his total takings.

He is also using the unified Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR) e-payments solution launched in 2018, which lets stallholders receive payments through 19 different providers including PayLah, Dash and GrabPay, and is no longer paying a monthly fee.

The benefit of going cashless is the time saved from counting out change for customers, said Mr Goy, who has plied his trade at the hawker centre for 24 years.

But many of his fellow hawkers are still wary of the technology, he noted. For instance, some have expressed worries over whether they get paid when the machine experiences a mechanical fault and the receipt fails to emerge.

The easy solution is to check with the customer if the transaction has gone through on their end before taking further action, he said, adding: "If you use it long enough, you get used to it. It's like how everyone got used to smartphones and the Internet."

In recent days, his peers have been coming to him to ask how they can get a cashless system for themselves, spurred by the Government's Hawkers Go Digital initiative. It offers a bonus of $300 per month over any five months for hawkers who sign up for SGQR and have at least 20 cashless transactions per month.

Hawkers who have already adopted SGQR like Mr Goy are also eligible for the bonus.

 
 
 

"It's a good incentive, because it's easier to get started when everyone is doing it together," he said. "For me, going cashless was something of a loss in the beginning, but I look at the big picture.

"Big countries like China are already moving ahead so quickly with cashless payments, and this is what we have to do so Singapore can catch up. If we don't adapt now, we will be in trouble later."


Correction note: An earlier version of this story said the Hawkers Go Digital initiative offers a bonus of up to $300 per month. The Infocomm Media Development Authority has since clarified that the bonus is fixed at $300 a month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2020, with the headline 'Tide turning for soya bean seller who adopted cashless system'. Subscribe