Singapore Food and Beverage Service To Have Unified Payment System
Singapore’s Nets system will be bringing cashless payments to 12,000 hawker stalls, canteens and coffee shops. In an attempt to unify what is currently a fragmented e-payment setting, Nets is the first “master acquirer” which will bring this system to the designated vendors in a proactive move towards becoming a cashless nation.
As the designated acquirer, Nets will be the only authority responsible for reconciling accounts and accommodating an entire range of payment schemes, as well as address the obstacles which have been a concern that were raised by the hawkers.
Currently, 40% of Singapore’s dining instances take place in either canteens, coffee shops or hawker stalls. Technology is quickly becoming an integral part of the urban nation, and the Government is looking towards enhancing the customer dining experience by providing this unified e-payment system where every transaction can be made securely and quickly without the need for cash. It is not just the customers who stand to benefit, but the merchants who will be switching over to this new cashless system too, because there will be cost-effective and productive models in place to accept e-payments.
Some Hawker Facing Problems in New System
Although some hawker stalls currently do accept cashless payments, they face the problem of dealing with varying methods of payment, and this raises issues at times because some payment systems do not “talk to one another”. Customers deal with the hassle of having to carry multiple e-wallets and cards in addition to cash.
Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA), Enterprise Singapore and the Housing Board have joined in the call for collaboration to address the issues which are faced by hawker stalls, which is why this proposed unified e-payment system was brought forth. With the initiatives done by these agencies, customers will now be able to utilize some 20 payment schemes (which will be rolled out progressively in two phases) available to them, including ex-link transport cards, concession cards and Nets FlashPay cards.
The first of the two-part payment scheme will be introduced and go live by the end of this year. 10 payment schemes will be introduced, while the remaining 10 will be finalized by August 2019. All merchants are set to receive a terminal for card payment processing, and the national QR code payment standard (also known as the SGQR). These all-in-one e-payment terminals will be able to read chip-based cards, contactless cards, and QR codes. These terminals will be rented out to the hawkers at no cost for the first 3-years once they have signed up with Nets, and the 0.5% transaction fee will be absorbed by the Government during this time.
Merchants will be given until August 2020 to apply for fee waivers, although Nets has stated that it has not decided on what the charges would be after the 3-year period. All transactions and payments to merchants which are made before 11pm will be finalized within one business day, while transactions made with Visa, MasterCard or American Express will be credited two days from the close of the business day.