Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong joined the inaugural e-Payment Learning Journey event, to the delight of the seniors who attended the session.
By Janice Lin
Seniors attending a briefing before going on a neighbourhood tour, guided by volunteers who helped them to make e-payments at various stops.
Madam Foong Poh Har Nancy finds it hard to make simple e-transactions like topping up her EZ-Link card via NETS. She revealed she is baffled by the top-up machines at train stations, and has no idea where to even begin.
“I don’t know what are the steps to top up my card. Where do I start?” she asked.
The 69-year-old found the answer at the first e-Payment Learning Journey, held on 30 May 2018 at The Grassroots Club in Ang Mo Kio to help demystify electronic payment transactions for seniors like herself.
About 100 volunteers from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Inc and Youth Corps Singapore were on hand to guide an estimated 300 seniors on how to download banking and e-payment apps like DBS Bank’s PayLah! on their phones, log in to their e-payment accounts, transact safely online, make payments via QR codes and top up their travel cards using their ATM cards.
Seniors were taken on an experiential tour in the neighbourhood, where volunteers guided them through the process of topping up their EZ-Link cards at MRT stations and paying for food items via NETS.
Enthusiastic volunteers were on hand to show the seniors how to pay electronically.
Learning journey that pays off
The e-Payment Learning Journey is organised by the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) under the Silver Infocomm Initiative, and is part of broader efforts to equip Singapore’s silver population with digital literacy skills so they do not get left behind as the nation progresses towards becoming a digital economy.
Said Ms Koh Li-Na, senior director of IMDA’s Digital Readiness Cluster: “Using technology appropriately allows seniors to connect with their family members, access e-services and enjoy the convenience of e-transactions and e-payments.”
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong chatted and posed for selfies with several seniors at the event.
This inaugural session was graced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who stopped by to greet and mingle with residents. Mr Lee, who is also Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC, had in his National Day Rally speech last year stressed the need for Singapore to make a quicker transition towards digital payments in order to catch up with countries like China, where cash is virtually obsolete and payments via QR code are the norm.
About 50 e-Payment Learning Journey sessions will be held at six different locations across the island from now until the end of the year, with the aim of reaching out to roughly 2,000 seniors. This initiative takes a whole-of-community approach towards fostering digital inclusion, with corporate, youth and grassroots volunteers offering their time and assistance to help seniors gain confidence in transacting digitally.
Helping seniors learn
For Mdm Foong, getting assistance with her EZ-Link card and with downloading and using e-payment apps has been helpful. “I’ve learnt the basics at this session I attended, and I hope to become more confident in making e-payments on my own soon,” she said.
Others, like Mdm Sharan Kaur, 77, received help with using their internet-banking tokens.
The 77-year-old shared that despite following the written instructions given to her by her bank, she has been unable to log in to her account.
A few taps is all it takes: A demonstration on e-payments at a vending machine.
And she is not the only one who faces this issue.
“My senior friends living at my Ang Mo Kio block – and there are a lot of us there – also find this difficult,” Mdm Kaur shared.
She admitted that it is harder for seniors like herself to understand how to transact digitally, and that it takes a little longer than it would for someone younger.
But she was game to learn how to go digital, and was glad events like the e-Payment Learning Journey were available to help her.
“We are so used to paying with money! But it’s so important to learn. Almost everything is done by phone or online now, so if I don't learn, I will soon find it difficult to get the things what I want.”
For seniors interested in attending e-Payment Learning Journey sessions in future, please visit https://www1.imda.gov.sg/imsilver for updates.