Singaporeans prefer electronic payments to cash

A Visa study has revealed that Singaporeans have the highest preference for electronic payments the in Southeast Asian region.

According to the 2016 Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes survey, 87% of Singaporeans prefer making electronic payments to using cash, indicating the highest preference for electronic payments in the region.

This figure could largely be attributed to an increased preference for using debit cards, with 62% of consumers saying they own and actively use debit cards, a 13% increase over the previous year.

Nearly half (48%) of respondents stated they have 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. More than half (52%) of these respondents also said they believe card usage is safer than cash.

In terms of payment habits and sentiments, 68% of respondents shared that they use electronic payment methods via mobile and wearable devices more often, resulting in a move 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 also expressed being comfortable with the use of biometrics, such as fingerprinting and face recognition, for payment authentication.

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Awareness and usage of contactless payments in Singapore has also increased in the past year. Some 91% of Singaporeans said they are aware of contactless payments, compared to 87% in 2015. In addition, 71% of Singaporeans said they have used contactless payments, and the remaining 25% said they were keen to use it in the future.

Ooi Huey Tyng, Visa Country Manager for Singapore and Brunei said, “Singapore is a developed market where more than 60% of all transactions are made electronically. However, this means that around 40% 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.”

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