Cash is no longer king: 87 percent of Singaporeans prefer electronic payments

Anuradha Shukla

epayment cards

Most (87 percent) Singaporeans prefer to make electronic payments, according to the 2016 Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes survey. 

Only 11 percent prefer to use cash, representing the highest preference for electronic payments in the region.

This growth is largely due to an increased preference for using debit cards, with 62 percent of consumers saying they own and actively use debit cards.

Conducted by Toluna, the survey is based on the opinions of 500 Singaporeans to gain insights and assess their attitudes towards cash and card usage, mobile banking, contactless payments, and online shopping.

Nearly half (48 percent) of the respondents admitted to having more payment cards in their wallets now, compared to five years ago.

Fifty-two percent of these respondents also said they believe card usage is safer than cash. 

"Singapore is a developed market where more than 60 percent of all transactions are made electronically. However, this means that around 40 percent of payments in Singapore are still transacted using cash and cheques, presenting a significant opportunity for cash displacement," said Ooi Huey Tyng, Visa country manager for Singapore and Brunei. 

She added: "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."


Moving away from cash

More than two-thirds (68 percent) of the respondents are using electronic payments, such as mobile devices and wearables.

Sixty-six percent would like payments to be fully automated, doing away with the physical process of paying for a product or service.

The same percentage of respondents are also comfortable with the use of biometrics, such as fingerprinting and face recognition, for payment authentication.

Contactless payments are gaining traction in the republic too. Ninety-one percent of Singaporeans said they are aware of contactless payments, compared to 87 percent in 2015.

Seven in 10 Singaporeans also said they have used contactless payments, and  a quarter 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 7 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," said Tyng.