More hawkers are going cashless with DBS

QR-code function makes payments faster and easier for both businesses and customers

You can now walk into some hawker centres and whip out your phone, instead of your wallet, to pay for your $3.50 bowl of ban mian.

This payment mode is also convenient for hawkers such as Mr Ho Chun Meng, 45, the stall-owner of Hui Wei Ban Mian at the Toa Payoh West Market and Food Centre.

He is one of 200 adapters of a Quick Response (QR) code function being introduced to hawker and food centres by DBS to encourage more cashless payments here.

The function helps overcome challenges with time and hygiene that Mr Ho faces alone on the job. Even at busy times, he still has to count out change and wash his hands whenever he handles money.

"It's not just the time taken. It's also really unhygienic. It's very inconvenient to handle money, then handle food again. We need to keep washing our hands," he said.

About two weeks ago, the hawker was approached by an ambassador from DBS who helped him install the new QR-code payment function at his stall.

Customers can scan the code using their DBS PayLah! app. They then type in the amount owed and send the money to Mr Ho, after which he will receive a payment notification. Since he started using the function, up to 20 customers have paid with phones.

"If you know how to use it, it's really fast," he said. A transaction can be almost instantaneous.

A report last year by consulting firm KPMG Advisory, commissioned by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, showed that around 60 per cent of consumer payments in Singapore are done in cash and, at places such as hawker centres and wet markets, the figure rises to about 90 per cent.

DBS has also launched a new Smart Nation Ambassador Program (Snap) to recruit up to 1,000 ambassadors to encourage small, cash-based merchants to adopt DBS PayLah! QR codes as a payment method. Snap ambassadors go out to small neighbourhood shops, hawker centres and wet markets islandwide to introduce the new function to business owners who might not realise the benefits of adopting a cashless system.

So far, the ambassadors have recruited about 200 stalls.

Mr Anton Tan, 46, the owner of Uggli Muffins, which is in the same food centre, located at Block 127, Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, said it would be only a matter of time before cashless payments become the norm.

"We need to adopt a cashless system sooner or later because that's the future," he said.

He set up his QR-code payment function yesterday, and he is positive it will help him save time.

"It's very difficult to look for change sometimes. Many coins look the same," he said.

The bank launched the programme yesterday at a three-day DBS PayLah! X *Scape Palooza event at *Scape Playspace, which features 100 youth vendors, all of whom can accept payment through the QR-code payment function.