Nets to roll out new cashless payment features to help hawkers fight fraud

SINGAPORE – E-payments service provider Nets will roll out new features to help hawkers fight fraud as more than half of all stallholders here accept cashless payments.

The enhancements on the NETSBiz App used by hawkers and small retailers will include larger fonts, distinct payment alerts and colours to highlight new transactions.

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 on Friday (Feb 19).

“All of this is really designed based on feedback from the stall holders to make it easier for them to recognise that a transaction has in fact been recorded and executed,” said Mr Iswaran, noting that fraud is present on all kinds of transaction platforms.

“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),” he said.

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.

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

More than 1.2 million e-payment transactions worth over $14 million were made last month, a fourfold increase from when the programme was first launched in June, said Mr Iswaran.

The minister gave the update during a visit to the Whampoa Drive Hawker Centre on Friday.

The scheme aims to help all 18,000 stallholders here adopt the national e-payment system, the Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR). Under the scheme, hawkers are offered incentives of up to $1,500 for adopting e-payments, and over 7,400 have already been granted the bonus.

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

Speaking on the progress of the scheme, Mr Iswaran said: “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 to work and respond to their needs.”

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

Madam Lim Meng Kee, 68, who operates a fruits stall in the hawker centre, 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 first month.


Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran (centre) and MP for Jalan Besar GRC (Whampoa) Heng Chee How (left) talk with stallholder Lim Meng Kee at Whampoa Drive Food Centre and Market, on Feb 19, 2021. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

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

Madam Tan Soo Kheng, 67, who sells apparel in the hawker centre, said many of her older customers 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.”

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