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How to increase take-up rate of cashless payments

With over 4million people in Singapore over 25 years of age, something must be done

The Business Times reported that DBS has recorded up to 8,000 transactions using the DBS Pay Lah! system since its April launch. Concidentally, 8,000 is the number of merchants that DBS Pay Lah! has reached out to for its QR code system, which 900 has signed up as of July. As for the Pay Now Fund Transfer system, DBS has signed up 140,000, which is 40% of its total account holders.

OCBC on the other hand has 100,000 signed up to transfer funds via mobile phone. OCBC only recently launched payment via QR code, available to registered users on its PayNow app.

So how can both banks increase the take-up rate of cashless payments among merchants, and then the take-up rate among consumers?

Cashless campaigns run by the banks

Singaporeans love a lobang, and DBS and OCBC can consider giving it to them via incentives awarded into a "rewards" digital wallet. An example of a campaign can be;

  1. Every Sunday to Thursday, people who scan to pay at participating merchants will be allowed 1 confirmed chance at obtaining rewards in the form of digital currency deposited into their "rewards" wallet on the App. Users will be taken to a gamification screen (i.e jackpot), whereby they will get 1 opportunity to win digital rewards, ranging from $2 - $888. Users will see the amount they have won, which will be instantly credited into their rewards wallet. 
  2. There will be 1 lucky winner of the $888 cash-price throughout the Island everyday. 
  3. For people whom missed pressing the "enter rewards page" button after making a cashless payment, they can still goto their rewards wallet section where they will see a notification that there is a "free spin" waiting for them to redeem. The "free spin" is only valid on the day the transaction is made. 
  4. There will be no rewards program every Friday to Saturday. Instead users can spend the amounts credited in their rewards wallet that week at any participating outlets, to be used against offsetting any purchases at the participating outlets. 
  5. Amounts credited in the rewards wallet will be forfeited if not spent during that week. 
  6. For an added bonus, users who go cashless every Thursdays will see their cumulated rewards "doubled" after completing their first cashless transaction that day. 
  7. Each App user is only entitled to claim 1 reward per day. And only make 1 offset purchase at a participating stall each week. 
  8. Rewards are non-transferable. 1 mobile number is only entitled to download 1 App to be used for the campaign. 

With over 3mil people aged 25-55, another half a million people in the 55-65 bracket, and another half million above 65, its little wonder why take-up rate for digital payments is slow.

0-14 years: 12.94% (male 382,479/female 365,595)
15-24 years: 17.02% (male 484,355/female 499,940)
25-54 years: 50.45% (male 1,420,833/female 1,496,125)
55-64 years: 10.34% (male 299,446/female 298,562)
65 years and over: 9.24% (male 243,418/female 290,975) (2016 est.)

Agencies can educate via content

Digital agencies are a powerful lot these days. With the likes of social media, new media, websites and email marketing, they are the best suited to raise awareness for any brand or company. In fact, such is the shift towards digital that digital agencies are wearing the corporate advisor hat in many cases, formulating online business models for their clients.

One such agency is yours truly, a multi-platform digital services provider created especially to increase digital awareness among the older population. theAsianIR is a provider of digital solutions to traditional businesses, where their business structure is based on a "build-own-operate-transfer" model for any digital solution provided to their clients.

Exactly how can the older generation be encouraged to go cashless

A common trend among older population is their affinity towards nostalgia. They will generally always like the food they have loved for years, have a connection towards particular stalls they have frequented throughout the years, have a motivation to help businesses in industries they are familiar in, visit the same attractions where they have liked over the years, speak to the same old friends they have spoken to all this while, read the same newspaper or publications they've always been reading.

So to encourage among them to take-up digital solutions, companies must first bring out a sense of nostalgia, belonging or a community spirit around this new initiative.

One way is to incentivise companies to go online, and get their current customers to go with them on this journey.

Take the case of Mr Ng above, who has been selling Ngoh Hiang for more than 40 years, digital agencies can help Mr Ng's stall engage with his current customers by getting his customers to scan the QR code to "follow" the OA (app in-built into the WeChat system) of his stall, to be notified of deals and promotions happening on a regular basis.

Another example is from Amazing Hearing Aid, a real hearing aids provider located in Nex whom has signed up to DBS Pay Lah!. Amazing can set up an OA with a digital agency, and get the digital agency to run campaigns around in-stall promotions, or online-deals (app can come with an e-commerce element), and of course, how-to guides on cashless payments and rewards offered if user goes cashless.

Current customers of a traditional business will be asked to "follow" the OA when they next visit the store physically, and will only "unfollow" if they explicitly choose to. Otherwise the OA will just be a line item as soon above, which moves down the list when new notifications comes in. This means that any new notification by the company on it's OA will push the OA right up to the top, with headlines of the content as shown above.

Stall owners will have more motivation to ask their current customers to follow their account, because they will connect with them digitally with just a touch on the "send" button. In turn, customers will be more taken to follow their account if asked at the stall, as all they have to do is to scan the QR code located at the front desk or any strategic locations around the store.

Other locations which can house a stalls QR code include virtual stall directory, virtual product wall, QR code embedded in directory listings, QR codes displayed at information counters etc.

Will anyone read what's coming out from Mr Ng's stall

If written and presented well, yes. Content doesn't have to be in the form of articles, it can be in the form of;

  • short poems
  • motivation quotes
  • stall owner's diary
  • song lyrics
  • tip for the day
  • jokes and funny quotes
  • riddles
  • live-stream from stall front at specific hours of the day
  • interviews and feedbacks
  • recipes
  • children's stories
  • Dr Seuss quotes
Anything to get attention and keep followers informed of the stall's existence digitally. The better the content is, the higher the chances of it being shared among their friends.

So who's going to bear the cost of setting up and running the OA?

To be discussed.....

From the author: theAsianIR is a Singaporean digital agency implementing business models for companies in traditional sectors to do business with mandarin-speaking demographics digitally. Planning and executing disruptive business on behalf of these companies in the form of apps, softwares and websites, theAsianIR has clients across wholesale, retail, logistics, f&b, built-environments and real estate. Sign up to our newsletter on our website to get tips and exclusive deals about future-proofing your business.

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