Nets to roll out app features to help hawkers fight fraud

Larger fonts, distinct payment alerts to allow new digital transactions to be tracked easily

Madam Lim Meng Kee, a stallholder at Whampoa Drive Food Centre and Market, with Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran and Jalan Besar GRC MP Heng Chee How, who is also Senior Minister of State for Defence, yesterday. Madam Lim, who r
Madam Lim Meng Kee, a stallholder at Whampoa Drive Food Centre and Market, with Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran and Jalan Besar GRC MP Heng Chee How, who is also Senior Minister of State for Defence, yesterday. Madam Lim, who runs a fruit stall, says there has been a slow but steady increase in the number of customers opting for cashless payments.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

E-payment service provider Nets will roll out new features on its app to help hawkers fight fraud, such as larger fonts, distinct payment alerts and colours to highlight new digital transactions.

The enhancements to the NetsBiz app used by hawkers and small retailers come as more than half of all 18,000 stallholders here accept cashless payments.

They are set to be rolled out progressively from next month, and are meant to help hawkers track their transactions easily, said Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran yesterday.

"All of this is really based on feedback from the stallholders to make it easier for them to recognise that a transaction has in fact been recorded and executed," he said, noting that fraud is present on all kinds of transaction platforms.

In media reports late last year, hawkers said they have been cheated by opportunistic customers who show them screenshots of fake or old transactions as "proof" of payment.

"I think as we go forward, we need to raise the education and awareness (of the risks involved), even as we promote the usage of (e-payments)," Mr Iswaran said.

This comes as more hawkers have joined the Hawkers Go Digital scheme, with 10,000 stallholders now accepting e-payments.

More than 1.2 million e-payment transactions, worth more than $14 million, were made last month, four times more than when the programme was launched last June, said Mr Iswaran.

The minister gave the update during a visit to Whampoa Drive Food Centre and Market yesterday.

The Hawkers Go Digital scheme aims to help all 18,000 stallholders here adopt the national e-payment system, the Singapore Quick Response Code, or SGQR.

Under the scheme, hawkers are offered incentives of up to $1,500 for adopting e-payments. More than 7,400 have already been granted the bonus, which is given to stallholders who have received at least 20 cashless payments in a month.

The eligibility period for the bonus has also been extended from Dec 31 last year to May 31 this year, to encourage more to go digital, said Mr Iswaran.

He said that there has been good progress on the Hawkers Go Digital scheme. However, hawkers and consumers also need to use e-payments consistently, he noted.

"When you look at it in totality, it's been a good programme. I think it is getting good reception and traction amongst our hawkers, but we need to continue the work and respond to their needs," he said.

Stallholders said their customers have also taken some time to get used to the new payment system.

Madam Lim Meng Kee, 68, who runs a fruit stall at Whampoa Drive Food Centre and Market, said there has been a slow but steady increase in the number of customers opting for cashless payments.

"Some people may take some time to make the payment and our other customers may be impatient.

"But for a start, it's okay, we have to progress," said Madam Lim, who sees about one cashless transaction a day now, up from just 10 in the whole of the first month that she started accepting e-payments.

Others go one step further and encourage their customers to go digital too.

Madam Tan Soo Kheng, 67, who sells apparel at the market, said many of her older customers still do not know how to make cashless transactions.

"I tell them to go to the community centres to learn how to use these tools," said Madam Tan.

"We cannot be afraid to learn."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2021, with the headline 'Nets to roll out app features to help hawkers fight fraud'. Subscribe