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Singapore government seeking e-payment solutions for micro-payments at hawker centres and coffee shops

The National Environment Agency (NEA), Housing & Development Board (HDB), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) have jointly issued a Request for Information (RFI) for electronic payment (e-payment) solutions to support micro-payments mainly at small food shops and others. This includes hawker centres, HDB coffee shops (HDB refers to public housing developments and coffee shops in Singapore are an aggregate of small stalls or shops, often reminiscent of food courts), and shops in the heartlands. 

In May, Today newspaper reported that the MAS and other agencies are working on to achieve a government aim for half the food and beverage (F&B) establishments to adopt digital services by 2020.

This is in line with the national drive towards an electronic payments society in Singapore, as part of the Smart Nation vision (for a snapshot of recent initiatives in the area, click here). E-payments is one of the five national strategic projects which the government will focus on in the immediate future.

Majority of Singaporeans frequent hawker centres and HDB shops on a regular basis, often having multiple meals in the shops. Converting them to e-payments would be essential if for the success of the e-payments drive.

So, the aim is to come up with an e-payment solution that is not just easy and convenient, but a “delight to use”, as the press release describes it. In view of the low-value transactions in these places, the solution must be affordable for the merchants, for payments between them and their customers and between them and their suppliers.

The government is looking to work with industry players to develop e-payments solutions that can be adopted by a broad demographic of customers, merchants and suppliers quickly, affordably and safely. The agencies are crowd-sourcing views and ideas through this RFI, in line with the Smart Nation principle of harnessing the innovation and creativity of the private sector and co-creating solutions.

The insights gained through the RFI will help facilitate preparations by NEA, HDB, MAS and SNDGO, for subsequent Request for Proposal (RFP) or other procurement process for e-payment solutions at hawker centres, HDB coffee shops and shops.

Interested parties can access the RFI on GeBiz (the Singapore Government's one-stop e-procurement portal) from today. The closing date for submission is 15 September 2017.

Featured image: Aapo Haapanen /CC BY 2.0

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