Almost Half of All Hawker Stalls in S’pore Now Accept Cashless Payment


Back in 2017, when PM Lee Hsien Loong talked about how far China has advanced in cashless payment (even street stalls accept cashless payment) and how Singapore is planning to emulate that, people were sceptical.

Could that be done, especially at stalls helmed by older people?

You’ve probably believed, deep down in your heart, that it either couldn’t be done or need a long time to achieve.

But now, a mere three years down the road, Singapore has achieved a notable milestone.

Almost Half of All Hawker Stalls in S’pore Now Accept Cashless Payment

According to The Straits Times, almost half of the 18,000 hawker stalls in Singapore are now accepting cashless payment.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) said about 8,400 stallholders are now offering e-payments.

The number of stallholders who jumped on board the e-payment wagon doubled since Jun 2020.

How This Was Achieved

While stallholders are converted to cashless payments, the saying Cash is King still holds true when it comes to converting them.

A key part of achieving this milestone is the Hawkers Go Digital programme launched by IMDA and ESG in June 2020.

Apparently, hawkers who signed up for the Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR) will be able to get a $300 bonus per month over five months as long as they have 20 cashless transactions per month.

After some quick math, that comes out to a bonus of $1,500.


It was added that digital ambassadors have managed to engage all the stallholders on government-owned premises to encourage them to adopt the SGQR.

Some Still Resistant To Idea of Cashless

Not everyone, however, is keen on the idea of going cashless.

Several reasons include:

  • Don’t know how to use the technology
  • Payment screen too small
  • Lack of demand from customers
  • The possibility of getting scammed

A curry puff stallholder said that “cash is still king” and pointed out that during busy hours, trying to juggle both cash and an e-payment system can be “troublesome”.

Another hawker suggested that older hawkers might not have the “technological know-how” to operate the e-payment system.

He pointed out that if you possess the knowledge, an e-payment system can be a blessing but if you don’t have the expertise, it can become a “burden”.

A younger hawker who operates a western stall at Old Airport Road pointed out that there are still ways to game the system, especially since there’s a “lag time” between receiving the payment and being notified on their ends.

Previously, a Zaobao reporter went around to try and scam stallholders with a screenshot of a previous payment and 60% of them got cheated.

The reporter tried the scam on six different stalls and managed to get away with her scam 66.7% of the time.

In the test, one of the stallholders does not understand a single word on the cashless system while another finds it a hassle to unlock the device to check if a payment has been received.


More Exciting Developments On The Way

To convince more hawkers to jump onto the programme, IMDA says that there will be more incentives and help down the road.

For one, they have SG Digital Community Hubs set up to help seniors and hawkers who are having digital difficulties.

25 of them are located in the libraries while the remaining hubs will be in the community centres.

In addition, IMDA is also incentivising diners into going the cashless route by offering lucky draws and promotions, such as the ongoing Scan, Pay, Win Lucky Draw.

The scheme, which is valid for payments made through banking apps like DBS PayLah! or e-wallets like GraPay and Singtel Dash, will let diners win up to S$4,888 per month when they pay at participating hawker stalls.

Next time, all you have to do is to bring your mobile phone with you when you go out and you’re able to survive the entire day liao. Or even the entire month.


Featured Image: Vichy Deal /