SINGAPORE - Going cash-free at hawker centres will soon be a reality as Nets, the Network for Electronic Transfers Singapore, rolls out new initiatives to promote cashless payments.
The company is already testing out contactless FlashPay card systems at 10 stalls at the Beo Crescent Market and Food Centre near Havelock Road, and a hawker centre in Clementi Central is the next in line to use the system.
Contactless payments are transactions made by waving a card over a reader, instead of signing a charge slip or entering a PIN code.
Bedok's upcoming hawker centre at Block 208B in New Upper Changi Road, due to open in October, will be 100 per cent cashless, said Nets chief executive Jeffrey Goh.
To pay, consumers simply tap a FlashPay card on a small electronic terminal that hawkers can preload with item prices.
Mr Goh told The Straits Times: "For old hawker centres, we have to go stall to stall to encourage owners to sign up. We have to create awareness, generate acceptance and inspire action."
He noted that it costs about $10,000 to set up this system in a typical hawker centre of 30 stalls. Stall owners can rent the micropayments terminal for $28 each month.
Alison Koh, 52, co-owner of Uncle Lim's Beverages at the Beo Crescent centre, said the $28 fee is reasonable and she likes the convenience.
"You don't have to look for change... It saves a lot of time as it is cashless. It is also more hygienic because you don't use wet hands to handle the cash. Our hands tend to get wet especially since we're a drinks stall, and some customers don't like that," she said.
Jessy Nara, 42, an administrative executive, used the system at the Beo Crescent centre last week and found payment a breeze.