Eighty-seven per cent of Singaporeans prefer to make electronic payments, as opposed to using cash (up 11%), representing the highest preference for electronic payments in the region, according to the 2016 Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes survey.
This growth is largely due to an increased preference for using debit cards (up 7%), with 62 per cent of consumers saying they own and actively use debit cards, an increase of 13 per cent.
Based on the study, 48 per cent of respondents admitted to having more payment cards in their wallets now, compared to five years ago. The main reasons for not carrying large amounts of cash include an increased habit of using payment cards, mobile wallets and contactless cards. Fifty-two per cent of these respondents also said they believe card usage is safer than cash.
Ooi Huey Tyng, Visa Country Manager for Singapore and Brunei said, “Singapore is a developed market where more than 60 per cent of all transactions are made electronically. However, this means that around 40 per cent of payments in Singapore are still transacted using cash and cheques, presenting a significant opportunity for cash displacement. Certain segments in Singapore, such as hawker centres, food courts and wet markets, are heavily cash-based. Hence, it is important for the industry to work closely together to introduce new digital solutions to convert cash in these segments, so that Singapore can become truly cashless.”
In terms of payment habits and sentiments, 68 per cent of respondents shared that they are using electronic payments, such as mobile devices and wearables, more often and moving away from cash. Sixty-six per cent also said they would like payments to be fully automated, doing away with the physical process of paying for a product or service. Sixty per cent of them are also comfortable with the use of biometrics, such as fingerprinting and face recognition, for payment authentication.
Awareness and usage of contactless payments in Singapore has also increased in the past year. Ninety-one per cent of Singaporeans said they are aware of contactless payments, compared to 87 per cent in 2015. Seventy-one per cent of Singaporeans also said they have used contactless payments, and the remaining 25 per cent said they were keen to use it in the future.
“In Singapore, contactless payments have grown tremendously over the years and, to date, Visa payWave transactions have crossed the seven million milestone per month. Visa payWave transactions now make up half of all Visa transactions, which is a huge achievement for us in Singapore, and we believe this growth will continue as we work with the merchants and banks to expand into new categories that were previously untapped,” Tyng said.