Supermarkets rolling out QR code payment via Nets

Cold Storage aiming to be first to have it at all stores by the end of Feb; others close behind

Supermarkets have begun to embrace Nets' QR code, the cashless payment system that hundreds of hawkers have been using since last September.

It works with a customer scanning a QR code on the payment terminal, which then accepts payment from Nets.

Cold Storage aims to be the first to roll it out at all its stores by the end of this month. Giant, which has already begun to offer this, aims to do the same by the middle of this year, while Sheng Siong plans to introduce it by the end of the year.

FairPrice has been introducing this technology in selected stores since October last year, and says that it will continue to do so at other outlets.

Nets' QR code system has been rolled out at more than 600 stalls in 20 hawker centres and school canteens since its introduction in September last year.

Cold Storage's Fusionopolis store, which opens today, will be its first outlet to have the Nets QR payment method enabled.

"This is enabled through the unified Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals that are already installed in all Cold Storage supermarkets. We will enable Nets QR as the first mobile QR payment, with more mobile payment options being explored currently," said its information technology director Eu Kwang Chin.

"For customers who prefer to use their mobile phone to transact, this payment option will be very convenient for them as they don't have to carry so many cards in their wallet.

FAST TRANSACTION

In terms of payment transaction time, it is nearly instant - where transactions are expected to be completed within seconds.

MR EU KWANG CHIN, Cold Storage information technology director, on the Nets QR payment method.

"In terms of payment transaction time, it is nearly instant - where transactions are expected to be completed within seconds," he added.

A spokesman for Dairy Farm, which runs 7-Eleven convenience stores as well as Cold Storage and Giant supermarkets, said: "Other new payment options are also in the pipeline to be rolled out this year, starting with Nets QR code payment. This has already been implemented across over 350 7-Eleven stores in Singapore and progressively implemented at Giant, with completion at all Giant stores by mid-2018."

A Sheng Siong spokesman told The Straits Times that other than Nets' QR code payment, it also wants to roll out Alipay by the end of this year .

In an update, it said its hybrid self-checkout system has now been extended to 27 stores, out of the 47 islandwide.

Ms Lian Lay Yong, chief integrated support officer at FairPrice, said that its Scan2Go system has seen 5,700 users register at its SingPost outlet, from when it was first rolled out in October to the end of last year. The system allows shoppers to scan purchases with a handheld device as they shop, and scan a QR code to check out.

Ms Esther Ho, deputy director of Nanyang Polytechnic's School of Business Management, said that Nets' QR code seems to be gaining traction as dealing with cash is a cost, particularly for supermarkets - for example, staff is needed to count the money.

She did not think that the nearly two-hour-long Nets outage on Friday would have a lasting impact on the cashless trend.

"The Nets outage caused a lot of inconvenience to both the customers and merchants and, of course, in the short run, it will dampen the confidence with regard to cashless payment.

"However, cashless payment is akin to the moving train that cannot be stopped. There will be added pressure on Nets and the banks to quickly resolve this and to reassure both consumers and the merchants," she added.

Not all shoppers, however, see a multitude of payment options as a benefit.

Part-time clerk Linda Leong, 60, said: "I would prefer to have one cashless payment platform. Not only is it less troublesome, but it is also easier for the authorities to track scams."