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Some hawkers not too keen on cashless payments after customers repeatedly dupe them

Some hawkers not too keen on cashless payments after customers repeatedly dupe them

Singapore's progress towards a cashless society has unfortunately taken a hit, no thanks to unscrupulous customers who scammed elderly business owners instead of paying the already low price of hawker food.

The Straits Times recently found around 15 hawkers who’ve been left with a sour taste in their mouth after they were conned into believing that they’ve received the cashless payment.

The fraudulent customers would show the hawkers older screenshots of their transactions or quickly cancel transactions after flashing to them the pre-payment page.

A duck rice seller operating in an Ang Mo Kio coffee shop said he has been cheated between 10 to 20 times, the Straits Times reported. The hawker, who’s in his 60s, chose not to pursue the matter as his losses were under $10 per misleading transaction.

Meanwhile, another hawker at Redhill Market and Food Centre calculated that he has accumulated up to $150 in losses since his stall started using the QR code payment system.

While Singapore has been aggressively pushing for e-payments at hawker stalls across the country, one of the downsides of going cashless is the hawkers’ unfamiliarity with the new methods.

Back in October, Lianhe Zaobao tested out how easy it would be to fool hawkers by showing them an old screenshot of a previous payment. Four out of six hawkers fell for the trick when they simply glanced at the shown screenshot and did not check the terminal to confirm the payment.


Part of the reason why hawkers could easily fall prey to such ploys would be that they are too busy rushing out orders to check if the payment went through. There’s also the language issue — these apps typically aren’t in a language they are familiar with. 

Nonetheless, the fault doesn’t lie with the hawkers.

“I couldn’t believe that people would go to so much trouble just to save $5 or $6 for a plate of rojak, but it’s more common than you think,” one hawker in Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre said to The Straits Times.

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