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Never too old to start something new

I have always been tech savvy and already knew about NETS QR Code. When it became available, I immediately agreed to sign up.

Mr Mak Chee Wah is 73 years old but his age did not stand in the way of his aspiration to pursue a second career after retiring from a long career in the government service.


He set up ‘Uncle Mak Café’ in the bustling Redhill estate a few years ago to indulge and share his passion for good quality coffee at reasonable prices with other coffee connoisseurs.


Having always been interested in new technologies, he eagerly agreed to install the NETS QR code payment solution at his stall when he was first approached by NETS, becoming the first merchant at the Redhill Food Centre to offer a cashless payment option to residents. He said: “I have always been tech savvy and already knew about NETS QR Code. When it became available, I immediately agreed to sign up.”

Mr Mak is an early adopter of new technology. He recounted: “I am very familiar with new technologies. When the first iPad came out, I was the first to buy it. Then, I got the second and the third versions of the iPad. I even have one behind my counter to watch movies.”


Since installing NETS QR code at his stall two months ago, Mr Mak has seen a 5 to 10 per cent increase in his business.


Sharing his experience, he said: “So far, it is mainly office workers and executives who use QR code for cashless payments.” The stall’s average transaction price is about $1.00 and many of these workers find it very fast and convenient to make cashless payments for such transactions.


For the older folks, the response has been different but Mr Mak is hopeful that there will be greater acceptance among his elderly customers over time.


“You must understand that most of the people who live here are older. Most elderly people don’t know how to use (QR codes to make payments),” he said.


Uncle Mak’s Café has also become an outpost in educating customers wishing to get onto the cashless bandwagon. He explained: “For customers who are curious about the new payment methods (such as NETSPay, DBS Paylah!, OCBC's PayAnyone and UOB's Mighty), I show them how to download the apps onto their phones.”


Also among the first to join the cashless bandwagon at the Redhill Food Centre is Mr Lawrence Phuah who runs the Tong Xiang Ji Fruit Juice. Mr Phuah is also a business owner who is adept at embracing change. After operating a cooked food stall for 20 years, he changed his offerings and became a fruit juice seller a few years ago.


Like his compatriot Mr Mak, he installed the NETS QR code payment system two months ago. “NETS was promoting the cashless payment system and when they offered to set up the infrastructure as part of their investment, I took it up,” he said.


So what has his experiences been so far? When customers see the prominently displayed NETS QR code sign, “some are curious and they use the phones to pay,” he said. “They find it convenient.” 


It is usually the young who are quick to pay via cashless methods. For the older folk, they still tend to pay using cash, he explained. “But I tell my older customers to try, it’s never too late to learn.”


I have always been tech savvy and already knew about NETS QR Code. When it became available, I immediately agreed to sign up.