Under PM Lee’s ‘going cashless’ scheme, Nets might now solve the problem of e-payments at hawker centres

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The system of Nets has been appointed to enable cashless payments to the 12,000 stalls at hawker centres, canteens and coffee shops. This move comes after PM Lee’s call for the nation to ‘go cashless’ during his National Day Rally speech last year. However, hawker centres have faced many issues with various other electronic payment systems since.

Nets will not only allow hawkers to accept e-payments and settle accounts, but also reconcile accounts and allow for a whole range of payment schemes to be handled on its systems.

About 40 per cent of dining occasions take place at coffee shops, hawker centres and canteens. Hawkers have faced issues with payments such as their payments being delayed when customers pay through electronic methods and have been reluctant to switch to cashless transactions.

Mr Ted Tan, deputy chief executive officer of Enterprise Singapore, said, “Merchants too, will benefit, as they will now have a cost-effective and productive model to accept and process e-payments from customers and suppliers.”

Under an initiative by Enterprise Singapore, the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Housing Board, consumers will be able to use abou 20 payment schemes at hawker centres, which include the ez-link transport cards and concession cards and the Nets FlashPay cards.

Furthermore, over the next three years, hawkers will not have to pay any monthly transaction fee for accepting e-payments. But after that, the fee will be 0.5 per cent, which is still much lower than the current 1 per cent to 3 per cent charged by credit card issuers. Nets will also waive the terminal rental fee for merchants.

On the issue of payments, they will be settled within one business day for transactions made before 11pm. Transactions made via American Express, MasterCard and Visa will be credited within two days after the close of the business day.

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obbana@theindependent.sg