Residents around Singapore’s Bedok town centre would definitely be happy to hear this: when the new hawker centre at Block 207, New Upper Changi road is completed in October, it will come equipped with free Wifi, cashless payments, as well as healthier food options.
According to Channel News Asia, the new hawker centre, which can accommodate 1,000 people, would allow diners to go cashless it will be equipped to offer the option of paying with the NETS contactless card. Diners will also be able to surf the Internet while having a coffee with the Wireless@SG service.The Health Promotion Board will also work with hawkers there to make healthier food choices more readily available.
However, while hawkers are getting bigger stall space, not all are willing to go cashless.
A hawker, who declined to be named, told Channel News Asia that as there will be charges incurred with the NETS contactless card, it is “not quite sustainable for a hawker”.
“I don’t think it’s the main way of payment for our customers when they’re eating at a hawker centre. And maybe some old people won’t even have it.”
Paying with a wave of a card over a reader is becoming more common in Singapore, with more cards rolled out and more merchants on board.
Ez-link is the biggest issuer of these cards, with over 15 million given out since its launch in 2008. They are accepted at 30,000 point of sales now around in Singapore, up from 20,000 two years ago.
Competitor Nets FlashPay has 3.2 million cards in circulation since its 2009 launch. The stored-value card is now accepted at 48,000 points, expected to go up to 80,000 by the end of this year.