a hawker center in singapore

Singapore is pushing for a wider adoption of cashless payments, especially at hawker centers. Source: Shutterstock

How can merchants benefit from Singapore’s push for unified payments?

ENTERPRISE Singapore has recently appointed NETS to handle e-payment transactions in coffee shops, hawker centers, and industrial canteens.

This will eliminate the need for multiple terminals or QR codes to accept different forms of payments. Stall owners will need to only install a single NETS system to accept over 20 different cashless payment options.

The move is in response to the call by several government agencies for a commercially viable, interoperable, and open access e-payment solution.

Under the initiative, merchants will no longer need to individually liaise with different payment schemes or acquirers. They will be given a terminal for card payments and an SGQR code, which will enable them to receive a wide range of payments.

This includes transport card EZ-Link, credit cards, NETS FlashPay, as well as mobile payment applications such as WeChat Pay, Singtel Dash, and GrabPay.

“Merchants will benefit as they will now have a cost-effective and productive model to accept and process e-payments from customers and suppliers,” said Ted Tan, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Singapore.

To further enable a wider adoption of cashless payments in the country, the government has offered to fully cover the monthly payment transaction fees for the next three years.

Thereafter, the monthly fee (also known as a merchant discount rate) will be set at 0.5 percent. According to a statement released by Enterprise Singapore, this is lower than the industry rate of 2 to 5 percent.

NETS is also waiving the terminal rental fee for merchants. Currently, the system is only available to businesses operating under the Housing and Development Board, National Environment Agency, and JTC Corporation.

“In Singapore, about 40 percent of dining occasions take place at coffee shops, hawker centers, and canteens,” Tan explained.

“With technology becoming such an integral part of our urban lifestyles, the government is enhancing the dining experience by providing customers with a unified e-payment solution where transactions can be made easily, quickly and securely. “

The scheme will be rolled out in two phases. 10 payment schemes (including Mastercard, Visa, and NETS) will be live by the end of this year, with the remainder to be gradually made available by August 2019.

For merchants, payment transactions will be directly credited to their bank accounts within one day after close of business, for transactions made before 11 PM. Transactions made via American Express, Mastercard, and Visa will be credited within two days.

Additionally, the transaction receipts will be compiled by NETS into a single report.

Merchants can choose to integrate their e-payment terminal with their point of sales (POS) system for measuring sales performance and consumer purchase behavior as well.

The initiative aims for the e-payment solution to be adopted across 200 coffee shops, 25 hawker centers, and 20 industrial canteens in the next two years.