Tanjong Pagar is first hawker centre to accept NETS QR code payment

Tanjong Pagar is first hawker centre to accept NETS QR code payment
Food stall owner Florence Anthony with the QR code solution available for customers to pay for food. Photo: Tan Weizhen/TODAY
Published: 2:18 PM, September 9, 2017

SINGAPORE — Customers at Tanjong Pagar Market and Food Centre can now pay for their meals using QR code, in an initiative launched by electronic payments company NETS on Saturday (Sept 9). This scheme will be accepted throughout the hawker centre.

There are plans to extend this payment mode to 30 other hawker centres by the end of the year, according to NETS chief executive officer Jeffrey Goh. 

Touting it as the first hawker centre to comprehensively accept QR code - a square barcode used increasingly for scanning data onto smartphones, NETS said that consumers can pay through their electronic bank wallets with OCBC’s PayAnyone and UOB’s Mighty. DBS Paylah! will be available for payment from mid-November.

There are also plans to accept other electronic wallets in future, according to NETS.

To make payments, customers have to register for the electronic wallet with their banks first. At the hawker centre, they simply have to scan the QR code provided before keying in the amount charged for their purchases.

Terminals have been installed, where hawkers can check if transactions are successful, and also use them to accept payments via NETS and FlashPay cards. Hawkers are not charged any fees for using this payment mode.

Mr Goh hailed it as the “first time such a system has been fully deployed in a traditionally cash-based environment”.

“The NETS QR Code system is available to the majority of bank customers in Singapore. All you need to do is download the bank app. And, hawkers only need to display one NETS QR Code to accept multiple payment types,” he said.

Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Ms Indranee Rajah, who officiated the event, added: “Today we’ve got a unique situation. Consumers have too many e-wallets, many financial institutions and organisations have their own e-wallets. But these e-wallets, not all of them are accepted by the variety of point of sales terminals out there. So we have to find a solution that is swift, simple, secure and accessible to all. And here the QR code payment is a tool for this.”

NETS said this initiative is “part of a concerted drive to convert about S$1 billion in cash-based transactions taking place across 6,000 hawker and food stalls in Singapore every year to a cashless environment”.

Mr Goh said that heartlands shops are another target market, as about 90 per cent of them still do not accept any form of electronic payments.

The push for electronic payments here is heating up fast, since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted in the National Day Rally speech that Singapore is lagging behind other countries such as China in terms of adoption in this area.

Last month, the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced that a taskforce has been set up to develop a common QR code for Singapore by the end of the year. 

Hawkers at the Tanjong Pagar Market and Food Centre yesterday said that customers have already started using the QR code to pay for their food. The solution was relatively simple to use, but they said they had to spend time to teach some customers first.

Ms Florence Anthony, 56, stall owner of SF Indian Food, said: “It’s quite easy and fast, faster than cash as I don’t have to find change, especially if customers give big notes. Most customers have no problems with it so far, but sometimes for old people it is difficult, so I have to explain how to use it.”