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30 Dec 2019  (1295 Views) 
Prime Minister Office

Get the e-payment adopted quickly in Singapore
Open letter to PM Lee

At the National Day Rally in August 2017, you suggested that Singapore should adopt e-payment to replace cash payment. 

Over two years have passed. Little progress has been made. Cash payment still remain the dominant mode of payment for small transactions. We continue to have an inefficient and costly way to handle payments. 

I suggest the following steps to rapidly promote e-payments. 

a) Use a payment card, instead of QR code that is used in China. This allows payments to be made by people who do not have a mobile phone or a data plan, e.g. children and seniors. It is also easier to tap with a payment card, rather than to scan a QR code. 

b) The payment card should be linked to an e-wallet and not to a bank account. The holder can transfer money from the bank account (using PayNow) to the holder's e-wallet and transfer from his e-wallet to th e-wallet of family members, e.g. children.

c) Develop a device that is connected to WiFi or data that can read the payment card and deduct the amount from the e-wallet. This device can be developed at a low cost, e.g. $150 per device. It should be easily affordable to merchants to install it. If govt subsidy is provided, it will even be adopted more quickly.

d) Use the e-wallet to receive govt subsidies and top-ups for utilities, GST vouchers, medical subsidies. It will create a big pool of users immediately, maybe more than 1 million users. Merchants will be delighted to move to this platform immediately to tap the large base of customers.

e) Appoint one operator to manage this platform. You can get GovTech to oversee it. Do not use NETS because they have vested interest in their current platform and may not be keen to see a new platform succeed. Do not use the Mastercard, Visa or PayPal network. Their charges (2% or more for small transactions) are too high.

f) Finally, appoint TKL to be the project leader. I offer my services for free, in the national interest. But if you don't need me, it is okay. This is just a suggestion.

Wish you all the best. 

Tan Kin Lian


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