With the advancement of cashless payment, Singapore needs to keep up with the rapid changing world and move towards the government’s goal of having a smart nation. Thus, Singapore had made a significant leap forward with the implementation of PayNow in 2017 (Martin, 2018). Ever since then, Singapore had adopted many cashless payment applications such as PayNow, PayLah, OCBC PayAnyone, etc. However, these applications fall more in favour with the younger generations and there is a concern with regards to the older generations being reluctant to use cashless services.
Therefore, the purpose of this proposal is to examine the enhanced use of cashless payment in Singapore. It covers the design of mobile payment applications and how cashless payment impacts today’s society, focusing on the efficiency and comfort it creates, and also on safety concerns. It views the topic from technological and sociological aspects.
Many banks in Singapore have developed numerous mobile payment applications with mainly three payment methods; P2P(peer-to-peer) payment, QR (quick response) payment, and the mobile contactless platform (Tan, 2017).
The peer-to-peer payment method is a decentralized platform that enables two users to communicate directly with their own bank accounts without any presence of a third party (Tan, 2017). It is straightforward as users can make any transactions by typing in the mobile number or identification number of the other party and the number of funds needed to be transferred over. Mobile applications with this payment method include PayNow, DBS PayLah, and OCBC PayAnyone (Asian Banking and Finance, 2018).
Following, the QR (quick response) Code is a simple scan-and-pay method using a square barcode to scan all types of data into a smartphone. Merchants will create their own static QR code and place it on the counters while buyers only need a mobile phone to scan and pay for their bills where all this can be done using the DBS Paylah app (Tan, 2017).
Lastly, the mobile contactless platform uses NFC (Near Field Communication) technology and it allows users to load various credit and debit cards into their contactless phone platform (Tan, 2017). NFC uses electromagnetic induction to convey data and has quicker connectivity as compared to contemporary Bluetooth, enabling speedy transactions between merchants and buyers (Triggs, 2018). Such examples of mobile contactless platforms are Apple pay, NETSPay and Mastercard contactless. Users make transactions by merely waving or tapping their mobile e-wallet card on the machine. Moreover, shopping will not be as bothersome as payment will be digitally processed (Lau, 2018).
With these mobile payment applications as mentioned earlier that are made easy for people to understand and use it, there are a couple of benefits that are brought upon it.
Cashless Payment brings about increased efficiency and convenience in payments as it minimizes the time needed to travel to the nearest ATM (automated teller machine) to manage cash and the time taken to queue at banks or at shops. According to a Visa survey, 74% of Singaporeans would prefer paying using cashless services instead of cash transactions as they do not wish to hold up the queue at cashiers (Sek, 2018). Cashless services are offered at various places ranging from hawker centres to restaurants to shopping malls and even in schools, for example, Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Ngee Ann Polytechnic offers cashless services at canteens where people can pay for their food bills by the QR code or mobile contactless payment methods. This saves time for people to calculate the amount of cash needed to give or return, reducing waiting time at cashiers.
Next, cashless payment also brings about much convenience to online shoppers. For instance, Carousell has a function called the Caroupay which allows people to pay through the app itself and Facebook live auctions where merchants sell their products via livestream. Most of the merchants have PayLah, a peer-to-peer payment application where buyers pay for their bills by keying in the merchant’s phone number, enabling speedy transactions. This then helps to reduce the hassle for buyers to find a suitable time to travel to the bank and transfer money over. Also, buyers and people with disabilities can shop in the comfort of their own homes instead of walking after a tiring day at work or pushing a wheelchair to go shop outdoors or to transfer money.
With cashless payment, it also makes Singapore a safer place to live in. Based on statistics, the number of theft and related crime rate have decreased by 8.6% from 2017 to 2018 and the number of shop thefts have decreased by 5.9% from 2017 to 2018 (Singapore Police Force, 2019). If more store owners were to accept electronic payment options, less money would be stored in POS (point-of-sale) machines and less money would be robbed in any event of shop theft. Individuals would also not need to carry out bulky wallets with large sums of cash and credit cards, lowering the rate of robbery. This increases the safety of citizens and brings about more comfort to peoples’ life.
In a nut shell, this proposal has analysed the reasons on why we should enhance the use of cashless payment in Singapore as it brings about many benefits such as increased convenience, efficiency and safety. However, with this technological advancement, challenges will be met. One such challenge is the social exclusion of certain sections of the society such as the elderly as they might not be as tech-savvy, but there are solutions to overcome this challenge. The government could invest in setting up booths at community centres or senior activities centres to educate the elderly on the use of cashless payment or hold talks in schools to encourage the younger generation to walk the journey of cashless payment with the elderly. Together with these solutions, cashless payment will continue to advance and greatly impact the society.