Photo of cashless kiosk from Straits Times

Heeding the government’s advice, the Koufu kopitiam in Jurong West St 61 offered 8 cashless payment options including NETs, EZ Link, Apple Pay and credit cards. However, according to the hawkers, nearly 80% of the patrons still prefer to use cash to pay for their food.

The cashless system is part of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s “dream” to emulate China and wanting Singaporeans to make cashless transactions like China nationals.

However, 3 out of 20 stalls realised that they have been fooled and have since removed their cashless payment system due to the transaction fees they have to pay. The hawkers even had to pay for the rental of the payment kiosk in the kopitiam. According to the hawkers, the cashless payment system is unreliable and would often “hang” or be disconnected from the network.

The Singapore government is also “forcing” it’s cashless policy to Singaporeans by deliberately removing cash options in some public amenities. At KK Hospital, patients who wish to pay by cash had to walk over a long distance to a designated cashier as “punishments” for not turning to cashless payment.

The insistence to using cashless transactions is part of the Singapore government’s big brother approach to monitor the transactions of individual Singaporeans. As cashless transactions leave too much digital footprints, both the government and criminals are able to trace spending habits of their intended targets.

In countries that value privacy like Japan, cash transactions and even cash savings remain the mainstream method of money handling.