Unified e-payment system rolled out at 500 hawker stalls

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing scanning the QR code at 49-year-old Madam Siti Naquiah's (left) nasi lemak stall in Ang Mo Kio yesterday, with Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon (right) looking on.
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing scanning the QR code at 49-year-old Madam Siti Naquiah's (left) nasi lemak stall in Ang Mo Kio yesterday, with Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon (right) looking on.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

System lets customers use various cashless options, helps hawkers save time and energy

There will be less fumbling with notes, coins or cards at hawker centres, with the completion of the first phase of a push to bring cashless payments to Singapore's hawkers under a single unified system.

An initial 22 coffee shops, 10 hawker centres and 12 industrial canteens have adopted the e-payment solution as of yesterday.

The unified e-payment system has been rolled out at more than 500 hawker stalls, out of the 12,000 across Singapore. A list of the stalls can be found at epaysg.com

The system, provided by Nets, unifies payments from 23 providers, so customers can use different cashless payment options at a single payment terminal at a food outlet. This also saves hawkers from the hassle of dealing with multiple e-payment firms.

The cashless payment options include e-wallets like Singtel Dash and GrabPay, transport cards ez-link and Nets FlashPay, and credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard.

Enterprise Singapore, the National Environment Agency, the Housing Board and JTC Corporation appointed Nets to deploy the solution to unify the cashless payments system last September.

BENEFITS FOR CUSTOMERS

For customers, they no longer have to bring cash around. Even foreign customers, if they don't have local currency, can use different forms of e-payment.

MR CHAN CHUN SING, Minister for Trade and Industry, on the system's convenience. 

BOON FOR BUSINESS OWNERS

It's very convenient as it helps to consolidate a lot of the payments. At the end of the day, I can just check the app on my phone to see how much I've earned rather than taking the time to count money.

MR LIM KIAN TIONG, owner of Ho-Bee Roasted Food, on how the e-payment system saves him time and effort.

Speaking to the media yesterday at a hawker centre in Ang Mo Kio where the system has been deployed, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said it makes things convenient for both customers and hawkers.

"For customers, they no longer have to bring cash around. Even foreign customers, if they don't have local currency, can use different forms of e-payment," he said.

"For the stallholders, they don't have to switch between food preparation and money collection. So that makes things cleaner and more hassle-free."

Mr Lim Kian Tiong, 52, owner of Ho-Bee Roasted Food at Block 628 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, has been using the system since last December.

"It's very convenient as it helps to consolidate a lot of the payments. At the end of the day, I can just check the app on my phone to see how much I've earned rather than taking the time to count money."

The number of cashless transactions at stalls offering the unified solution rose by nearly 30 per cent per month between last December and last month, Enterprise Singapore said.

To make payment, customers can scan a QR code using their desired e-wallets or tap or insert various cards into an all-in-one e-payment terminal. The terminals, which can read contactless and chip-based cards, and process QR code payments, are rented to hawkers at 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 this period. Stalls have until August next year to apply for the fee waivers.

Hawkers are among the last bastions of cash payment on the local retail scene.

About 40 per cent of dining in Singapore takes place at coffee shops, hawker centres or canteens, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, with 70 per cent of transactions done with cash.

Enterprise Singapore and Nets have set a target of rolling out the unified e-payment initiative to 200 coffee shops, 25 hawker centres and 20 industrial canteens by September next year. This includes a minimum of 2,300 stalls.

"Adoption of e-payment is a first step towards the digital transformation of small food businesses in our heartlands and industrial estates," said Enterprise Singapore deputy chief executive Ted Tan.

"In the last six months, we have seen more consumers using e-payment for their transactions. This is indeed encouraging and we are expanding it to include schemes that weren't part of the earlier announcement, like Diners Club, Razer Pay and VIA, by October," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 30, 2019, with the headline 'Unified e-payment system rolled out at 500 hawker stalls'. Print Edition | Subscribe