Cashless Society or Heartless Society?

I refer to the recent government’s initiatives to turn Singapore into a cashless society by getting food court stalls to use electronic payments, for example, at the Yishun Park Hawker Centre.

If one steps back and think critically, why would using an app to pay for a piece of tandoori chicken change Singapore into a more advanced society? Indeed, a simple transaction between two parties (the hawker and the customer) is now made unnecessarily complicated and troublesome by involving third parties (banks and network maintenance) that are not part of the transaction process. In using the payment apps, the entire transaction is made more expensive for both the hawker and customer (guess who is going to pay the maintenance of the electronic payment network and also the bank charges … surely banks are not doing this service for free?) and more troublesome for the hawker, who will no longer can receive his money immediately.

So why the fuss about using electronic payments on a simple cash transaction when there are no obvious advantages to either the hawker and the customer?

The answer is that it benefits the government, albeit unfairly, in that all transactions are now recorded electronically and will be used to elicit taxes from the hawker. Expenditures are incurring on both the hawkers and customers (to maintain the network and to use the bank’s services) in order for the government to tax the hawkers more efficiently, while inconveniencing the hawker who is no longer able to receive his payments directly.

However, this is very unfair to the hawker. What is officially recorded is only his revenue, not his income. The hawker needs to pay for stall rental and utilities bills and he needs to buy raw materials to run his business. He needs to maintain his cooking wares, his dinning wares, as well as to pay for a car, petrol and carpark (surely he could not be using the MRT to transport the chickens and the spices to his stall on MRT every day?). At the same time, the hawker needs to borne the cost of waste food on days that business is poor. All these expenditures add up and may not be transparent or obvious. The actual income of the hawker is likely to be a fraction of his revenue that is being recorded.

The government has thus far only spent efforts to record all the revenues received by the hawker (in the meantime, increasing the customers’ expenditure through marked-up prices so the part of the money we pay for the piece of tandoori chicken is now used to finance the electronic payment network maintenance and bank’s fees), without any corresponding efforts to accurately capture the expenditures incurred by the hawker.

Honestly, this just does not make sense for either the hawker and the customer. Why are the customers being dragged into paying more money so that the government can elicit more taxes from the hawkers?

At the end of the day, buying a piece of tandoori chicken is really a simple transaction between the hawker and the customer. So I will choose to pay cash anytime to benefit both the hawker and myself.

 

Cheryl Gupta

 

 

 

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17 Responses to “Cashless Society or Heartless Society?”

  • HarderTruths:

    Cashless is to take total control of every citizen’s monies. People will be completely at the mercy of the government. Cash can be confiscated if crtian people are seen as threats to the ruling party. Opposition can be stopped from receiving donations.

    Every single transaction you do will be seen first and approved by the government before you are ALLOWED to spend one cent. Then one day this will be used this against you somehow to make you behave.

    Also how are you NOT going to pay fines, taxes, fees etc. dreamt up by the government? How are you going to avoid bank or government charges? You cannot.

    I do not see $G locals saying no to this. All eager to go cashless and tech savvy. Let’s see what happens when the money stops.

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  • RDB:

    It is to benefit pee and poo govt to save costs in printing money. Impractical minister like Chan Chun Sing lhl mooted for the next PM is another of his humongous bullshitting!

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  • oxygen:

    SALUTE, THOUGHTFUL BRILLIANT WRITING from the writer – to get his income correctly assessed & taxed by IRAS – the hawker must now hire an accountant.

    If a hawker buy property, paid cash, IRAS got way of taxing avoidance plus penalties – the income will be taxed as undisclosed income.

    How is old uncles and aunties going to buy food?

    HEARTLESS SOCIETY.

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  • Pls Tax The Big Fish:

    If i sell 100 plates of Char Kway Tiow . I can Report to IRAS that I sold only 50 plates and there is no way to confirm unless IRAS station an officer for three days at my stall.

    Now with NETS Cashless system cannot bluff as they can produce computer printout.

    Is the Government in desperate need of money that they even chase after the small hawker ? Why not chase after the big companies and at the same time reduce the Minister’s and the top civil servant million dollar salaries.

    It will be more effective as the Ministers do not need such a high salary to survive comfortably in Singapore. Please show concern for the needy and the poor.

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  • Satay Bee Hoon - Plate of Sai:

    Some food courts already accept NETS, Mastercard & VISA. Some food courts have their own card which offers discounts.

    US and UK also not like China, everywhere use phone to pay.

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  • Boh Chi Bye:

    Cashless & heartless, dickless and ballsless.

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  • N.Jungne:

    Thanks Cheryl Gupta, this Gabramen is quick at making money and more money

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  • Always Remember:

    Cashless is NOT less-cash. In fact it is more cash – you got to pay someone so that you can pay someone.

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  • Keff:

    Couldn’t agree more with Cheryl.

    Presumably the cashless approach was introduced at
    hawker centres cos we all use them, so its a way of
    introducing cashlessness. In its usual narrow-minded,
    non-thinking way, the govt didn’t consider the whole
    picture.It saw only a part of it. Scholars? hahaha

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  • charls:

    simple.human would never have invented money if wanted to
    go cashless.

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  • charls:

    i automatically will go cashless when im gone
    no need rush.

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  • Credit Card User:

    HAO Mart … does not accept credit card
    so do many retail outlets

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  • Use cash lah:

    So much about cashless discussion yet we forget that you still have option to use cash.
    So no need grumble about it just insist pay cash.

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  • Money mind megalomania:

    “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the souls of its people.”

    Would such a cashless system reduce humanity into economic digits to be manipulated by Big brother?

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  • The Poor Are Badly Hit!:

    Where to find so much cash to buy stored cards when paying in cash is already A problem!

    Hawkers must realise it is actually a ploy to tax them based on their ‘electronic earnings’ which cannot be denied!

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  • dori:

    everyone got the cashless msgs x.
    the real meaning is dat sg going cashless
    is refering to us having no more monies.

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  • Wat toking you:

    Sgs oredi going cashless.
    After paying for food & utilities costs each month, we are literally ‘cashless’…

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