Singapore's use of contactless, QR, wallets grows: Visa

  • Contactless payments picking up in Singapore, followed by online card payments
  • Growth also in online wallets, mobile contactless payments and QR code payments

Singapore's use of contactless, QR, wallets grows: Visa SINGAPOREAN consumers are forming new digital payment habits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest edition of Visa’s Consumer Payment Attitudes Study.

In a statement, Visa said the study found that contactless card payment is the most preferred payment method by Singaporeans (31%), followed by online card payments (23%) and that fewer than one in five Singaporean consumers (15%) prefer using cash.

It added that contactless card payments are the preferred payment method across majority of categories led by supermarkets (45%), retail shopping (42%), as well as petrol (42%).

Online card payments are also most preferred for categories such as bill payments (49%), overseas travel (49%) and education (36%), it added.

Visa said cash continues to dominate for categories such as food and dining (54%), convenience stores (51%), and taxis and ridesharing (34%).

“The stickiness of new digital payment habits formed during the pandemic cannot be underestimated. 

“Our study found that consumers expect the pandemic to have accelerated Singapore’s transition to a cashless society by at least four years,” said Kunal Chatterjee, Visa country manager for Singapore and Brunei.

He said Singapore is an advanced market and the payments infrastructure is extremely developed in this region. He added that more than nine in 10 Visa transactions made by Singapore consumers are contactless payments and this milestone is one of the highest in the world.

“With cash usage decreasing, we believe there is significant opportunity to encourage more usage of digital payments in the country,” said Chatterjee.

Online wallets, QR code usage grows

While not the most widely used among Singaporean consumers, online wallets, mobile contactless payments and QR code payments have seen significant increase in usage due to the pandemic, Visa noted.

Among those who indicated they were avid users of QR code payments, half (50%) now use this payment solution more frequently, it said.

Over two in five (42%) of consumers with a preference for online wallets and one in three (37%) who prefer mobile contactless payments increased their usage of the respective payment methods.

Based on the study, online wallets saw the biggest increase in usage for purchases at supermarkets (63%), food and dining (61%) and retail shopping (57%).

Meanwhile, QR code payments saw the largest increase in usage at convenience stores  (57%),  while the usage of mobile contactless payments increased significantly for taxis and ridesharing (48%).

“Based on the study, the top categories that see highest QR code payment usage include food and dining and ride-hailing and taxi payments.

We believe that as QR code payments acceptance increase, there may be more opportunities for Singaporeans to use this payment solution, including non face-to-face category purchases,” added Chatterjee.

The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study was conducted in September 2020 with 1,000 Singaporeans aged between 18 and 65 years of age. This is part of a regional research project conducted in Southeast Asia on over 7,500 consumers across eight markets.


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