Can Singaporeans really go cashless?
For all of Singapore’s tech savvy and strong push towards a cashless society, a recent Paypal report revealed that nine out of 10 Singaporeans still prefer to pay using cash. Despite the country’s high smartphone penetration rate and world-class connectivity capabilities, the report said the value of notes and coins in circulation by the MAS has been increasing in the past 10 years with latest available statistics showing that it rose to $42.5b in 2016.
But this statistic may very well be short-lived as the government continues to make a significant push for digital payments adoption in Singapore. In August, the MAS established a Payments Council to be part of a series of efforts towards realising the vision of an e-payment society in Singapore.
The Payments Council is also setting up a taskforce to develop a common QR code for Singapore as the use of QR code-based payments is considered as a practical and convenient way to introduce e-payments to cash-based merchants in the city-state. The room for growth of digital payment, despite Singaporeans’ current preference for cash, has no ceiling — at least for the time being.
“Singaporeans are interested in the mobile payment experience,” said Yeo Hiang Meng, Payments Council member and president of the Federation of Merchants’ Association in Singapore. “We hope to see intensified marketing efforts to encourage businesses and consumers to adopt mobile payments at heartland shops and hawker centres.”
Cashless is king
For the private sector, the recent rollout of Paynow has reported 500,000 registrations and more than $10m in transactions since its launch in early July. Meanwhile, OCBC Bank launched a mobile keyboard in late August to enable their clients to make cashless payments to any bank account in the territory without having to exit whatever mobile application they’re using. This is on top of established e-payment schemes like Grabpay, Apple Pay and Android Pay making headways in digital payment transformation in Singapore. Where the city-state is headed, looks like there wouldn’t be much paper notes and coins needed.
The value of notes and coins in circulation by the MAS rose to $42.5b in 2016.
OCBC Bank launched a mobile keyboard in late August to enable their clients to make cashless payments to any bank account
Source: Paypal APAC Awareness of new payment methods