5,400 stallholders now offer e-payments
Increased adoption of e-payments part of a larger mindset shift towards digitalisation, says Minister
Nearly 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 said yesterday.
Hawker Hu Xiu Zhen, 50, who owns Yong Xing Economic Bee Hoon at the 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.
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 15,900 stallholders in the past two months.
Plans are also underway 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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Tekka Market’s online auctions losing appeal
Introduced in the midst of Singapore's circuit breaker period in May, Tekka Market's live online auctions promised much as an innovative and digital way to buy wet market essentials.
But the appeal of live wet market auctions is short-lived, with sellers pointing to issues from order-taking to packing and delivery.
Moreover, after the circuit breaker ended on June 1 and the crowds started to return to the market, few also saw the need to conduct live online auctions.
Chia's Vegetable Supply was among the six Tekka Market vendors that participated in the first live auctions as part of an initiative organised by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to digitalise wet market businesses.
Despite 28,000 tuning in to the first Facebook livestream, the stall decided to drop out after just two rounds.
Stall owner Victor Chia said the added hassle and cost involved in integrating live streaming into the business were simply not worth the trouble.
"We are used to the way where people just choose what they want and pay (upfront), but with live streaming it's a lot of extra work from taking the orders to packing and engaging the logistics company (for delivery)," said Mr Chia, who is in his 40s.
He added that paying to have goods delivered to customers places a further financial burden on stallholders - after IMDA's subsidies for the first two live streams dried up.
The Straits Times understands that logistics company Tada Fresh is the appointed logistics provider in Tekka Market.
A check of the Tekka Online Market Facebook page revealed that the last live auction was by fishmonger81 Sheng Yu on July 28.
The post drew two likes and a lone share, a far cry from the first posts that saw hundreds of likes and thousands of comments.
Tada Fresh did not respond by press time.