Scan and pay at 5,400 market, hawker stalls

About a third of Singapore’s 18,000 stallholders in markets and hawker centres now let customers pay by scanning a QR code.

Over the past two months, about 1,900 stallholders have come on board the national unified e-payment solution, dubbed Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR), following enhanced efforts to promote digital payments.

With the new additions, a total of 5,400 stallholders can now receive payments from customers through 19 digital wallets including PayLah, Dash and GrabPay.

Speaking to the media at the Lorong 8 Toa Payoh Hawker Centre yesterday, Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran said the increased adoption of e-payments was part of a larger mindset shift towards digitalisation.

“The message of digitalisation is one that has been propagated for some time now, well before the onset of Covid-19,” he said. “What Covid-19 has done is to accentuate the means and the impetus of digitalisation… For many businesses, digital transition has now become a matter of necessity and, I would say, survival – whether it is being able to sell online, take payments online (or) link up with logistics companies for last-mile solutions.”

The recent increase was spurred by the Government’s Hawkers Go Digital scheme, launched in June.

Under the scheme, hawkers who sign up for SGQR get a bonus of $300 a month over five months if they have at least 20 cashless transactions in each of these five months. The goal is to have all 18,000 stallholders use SGQR by the middle of next year.

More than 2,000 stallholders have received the bonus to date, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) said yesterday.

Hawker Hu Xiu Zhen, 50, who owns Yong Xing Economic Bee Hoon in Lorong 8 Toa Payoh Hawker Centre, recorded 257 cashless transactions last month.

Madam Hu, who adopted the SGQR payment solution in August last year, said cashless transactions at her stall have risen to about four a day, from one every few days last year. “It’s more convenient for us because we don’t need to get change when people buy from us,” she said, noting that her customers are already familiar with scanning a QR code for payment.

Madam Jorene Chua, 55, who runs 888 Tau Kwa in the neighbouring market, said: “Customers who use cash are still in the majority, but there has been a definite increase in the past few months, mostly among younger people.”

To help businesses and seniors overcome the disruption brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, the IMDA set up the SG Digital Office (SDO) in May.

Digital ambassadors under SDO have reached out to a total of 15,900 stallholders in the past two months. Plans are also under way to have digital ambassadors teach seniors at community hubs how to use their smartphones and pick up useful daily digital skills, such as using WhatsApp and SingPass mobile as well as making e-payments.

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