"I Have to Use My Son's QR Code to Run the Business" : Unpacking Senior Street Vendors' Challenges in Mobile Money Collection in China

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number60
Journal / PublicationProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW1
Online published16 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


Mobile payment systems have become an infrastructural component in citizens' socio-economic life in China. The rapid shift to a cashless society demands vendors of all ages to quickly adapt themselves to the ubiquitous mobile payment era. However, how this trend may impact senior vendors, a group that typically uses less technology, remains unknown despite its significance in inclusive mobile payment design. This work aims to address this gap by investigating the challenges and strategies of senior vendors in mobile payment adoption. Particularly, we focus on a traditional low-resource setting with a large volume of senior vendors: street vending. We conduct a qualitative study incorporating field observations on 33 senior street vendors and semi-structured interviews with 15 of them (aged 53-78), and take Moneywork as an analytical lens to unpack their challenges in physical and social interactions. We find that senior street vendors are a group passively adopting mobile payments due to business requirements instead of recognizing their advantages. Vendors with relatively low digital literacy have to take an alternative method - using family members' QR codes - to run the business as family-dependent money receivers. With limited considerations for senior vendors' situational vulnerabilities, unexpected difficulties of payment confirmation emerge during transactions, such as reduced confirmation efficacy under noisy surroundings and degraded hearing. Transaction security issues also appear when mobile payment-based frauds target both confirmation interfaces (e.g., fake sounds of successful payment) and trust systems (e.g., showing half-done proof to flee without paying) in street vending. Finally, we raise a less visible yet critical concern of family-dependent vendors on the lost money freedom when their income flows into their families' wallets. We propose design implications for mobile payment systems to support more secure, efficient and accessible money collection services to underrepresented groups. © 2023 Copyright held by the owner/author(s).

Research Area(s)

  • digital inclusion, HCI4D, mobile payment, older adults, senior street vendors

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