Cash still king for elderly even as 2 coffee shops go cashless
In a bid to solve manpower woes, cashless payment - normally associated with self-ordering kiosks - is becoming increasingly popular at food and beverage outlets such as fast-food restaurants and foodcourts.
Over the weekend, coffee-shop chains Chang Cheng and Koufu introduced this concept at heartland coffee shops.
Industry players believe the cashless payment system will be common at coffee shops and hawker centres, raising concerns that the elderly and the less tech-savvy might face challenges.
To deal with this, Chang Cheng, which launched a new coffee shop in Choa Chu Kang yesterday, will deploy "ambassadors" to be stationed at its self-service order and payment terminals.
Mr Ian Lee, managing director of EZi Technology, which is behind EZi Wallet, a mobile app that allows customers to make cashless payment at F&B outlets including hawker centres, said the company often faces resistance from the elderly.
He told The New Paper: "The most common complaint that we get is 'I don't understand' and 'I can't see clearly'. So it is about being patient and giving one-to-one lessons."
Retiree Ong Teck Heng, 76, who was eating at a foodcourt in Toa Payoh yesterday, said he avoids cashless payment.
He said: "People my age prefer using cash because of habit. I don't own any credit cards either."
The EZi Wallet can be adjusted to suit the elderly's needs, like making the font bigger.
Mr Hong Poh Hin, 70, chairman of the Foochow coffee-shop association which represents 400 coffee shops in Singapore, said many coffee-shop operators are not keen to convert to cashless payment for now because of low usage.
He said: "It requires a mindset change, and many of the elderly are still uncomfortable with it.
"In a few years, when this technology becomes cheaper and more efficient, more operators might take it up."