Photo of QR code payment from DBS

Four government agencies – National Environment Agency (NEA), Housing and Development Board (HDB), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) – yesterday (Aug 25) issued a tender process calling for a cashless transaction payment system for all hawker centres and wet markets.

The government stated that the hawkers and wet markets must pay for the cashless transaction fees but the amount would be “affordable”:

“Given the low-value transactions in these places, the solution must be affordable for the merchants, for payments between them and their customers and between them and their suppliers. Such e-payments solutions should be one that can be adopted by a broad demographic of customers, merchants and suppliers quickly, affordably and safely.”

Hawker stall owners and wet market stall owners are likely to pass the costs to consumers and raise food prices as the high number of transactions means they will incur a huge penalty and this is unlikely “affordable” as the government claimed.

The cashless payment announcement was made to please dictator Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who said he wants to make the country a “Smart Nation” in his National Day Rally speech. Also in his speech was to “fight diabetes”, and this resulted in a coming sugar tax as recently announced by the Ministry of Health.