Cashless payments decline after Nets promotion ends

By Jeanne Mah

STUDENTS at NTU are switching back to cash after local e-payment giant Nets ceased its Go Cashless promotion in May.

Though scanning a QR code to make payment might seem more convenient, students are still unwilling to go completely cashless.

As part of a nationwide push to go cashless, Nets partnered with several stalls on campus, such as those at South Spine’s Koufu and Pioneer Food Court, to offer customers a $0.50 discount if they paid with mobile banking apps.

But since the two-month long campaign ended, the number of students who use the e-payment method has fallen dramatically, according to seven stallholders that The Nanyang Chronicle spoke to. During the promotion, they said at least 80 per cent of students paid with their mobile banking apps, but only 20 to 50 per cent do so now.

One student who made the switch back to cash is Lee Zhi Hui, a final year student from the School of Biological Sciences, who said she is still more comfortable using cash.

“I stopped using cashless payments as I worry about cyber-security issues. With cash, I don’t have to worry about my account details being compromised,” said the 23-year-old.

Yee Jie Ying, a second-year student at the National Institute of Education, said she also prefers cash even though she used the e-payment method during the promotion.

“I can take note of how much I spend when I remove physical money from my wallet,” said the 20-year-old.

“I also think that cash payments are faster because when cashless payment systems fail, the queue can be held up.”

But some students have been won over by the cashless method.

Uvalakshmi Jegatheesparan, a second-year student at the National Institute of Education, downloaded mobile app wallet DBS PayLah! during the Go Cashless promotion, which helped her to save about ten dollars in two months.

Even without the promotion, the 20-year- old still prefers the e-payment method.

“Now that I’ve started using the app, I find it more convenient than withdrawing cash all the time,” she said.

According to Nets’ head of sales, Mr Ang Sok Hong, there was a 2,000 per cent increase in the number of Nets QR code transactions at participating hawker centres and canteens nationwide over the two-month campaign period.

“Even after the campaign ended, the number of Nets QR code transactions still saw an average increase of close to 500 per cent compared to before the campaign,” said Mr Ang.

Stallholders’ preferences

Stallholders and employees here differ over which payment method they prefer.

Mr Ben Lee, an employee at Pioneer Food Court’s drink stall, said he prefers customers to use the e-payment system.

“I can track each transaction as the Nets machine produces paper receipts once each patron scans the QR code. My boss can also log into the Nets system to view each transaction,” he said.

But the boss of Pioneer Food Court’s fruits stall, who wanted to be known only as Madam Chua, said she still prefers cash payments as she is not familiar with how the cashless payment systems work.

“Since cash is the most common payment method in Singapore, it will take time for people to get used to cashless payments, even for stallholders like myself,” she added.

Nevertheless, Mr Lee said both modes of payment have their pros and cons.

“Sometimes when it rains, the WiFi connection is weak and the cashless system fails. I will have to ask students to scan the QR code again, which may result in a double charge. I will then have to refund them in cash,” he said, adding that this slows down the queue.

“But cashless payments are also great as the money gets automatically deposited into my bank account the very next day at 4pm and I don’t need to count my total earnings at the end of the day,” he added.