Majority in Singapore will use smartphones to pay for goods

Eight in 10 Singaporeans will likely whip out their mobile phones instead of cash or credit cards to pay for goods and services in a physical store, finds Visa survey, which is released as Apple Pay support is extended to more banks in the country.

Eight in 10 Singaporeans say they will use their smartphones instead of cash or physical payment cards to pay for goods and services in physical retail stores.

The survey finding from Visa signalled positive consumer sentiments towards mobile payments, as adoption of contactless payment continued to grow, said Ooi Huey Tyng, Visa's country manager for Singapore and Brunei. The study, conducted by YouGov, polled 1,000 consumers in Singapore in May 2016.

Ooi added that one in three consumers in the city-state used Visa payWave to make in-store purchases, pointing to the company's contactless payment platform.

The survey further revealed that 62 percent of respondents would consider leaving their wallets at home if mobile payments were sufficiently accepted across Singapore. Some 34 percent said tapping their mobile phones to process in-store transactions would be less cumbersome than carrying cash around, while 22 percent said doing so would eliminate the need to "count cash".

Some 45 percent said they would use their mobile wallets at supermarkets, while 35 percent pointed to fast food restaurants and 31 percent would do so to pay for transport.

Visa's survey findings were released the same day payment options for Apple's digital wallet were extended to credit cardholders of more banks in Singapore. Launched here last month, Apple Pay then was only available to consumers with American Express credit cards.

Five major banks in the country--accounting for at least 80 percent of both Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards in Singapore--on Wednesday added support for Apple's mobile wallet, enabling their card users to pay using their Apple devices.

Visa and MasterCard cards issued by OCBC Bank, United Overseas Bank, DBS Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank can now be added to Apple Pay, while POSB's MasterCard cardholders can also do likewise. A subsidiary of DBS Bank, POSB does not offer Visa cards.

Samsung's mobile wallet also would be available in Singapore later this quarter, and would be supported by most major banks including DBS, OCBC, Standard Chartered as well as American Express, MasterCard, and Visa.

Singapore will be the first Southeast Asian market to launch Samsung Pay, which also is available in South Korea, the US, and China.

Contactless payment is supported across various retail outlets in Singapore including Topshop, Uniqlo, NTUC Fairprice and Starbucks.

Commenting on the increased support for Apple Pay, Forrester's researcher for e-business and channel strategy, Ng Zhi Ying, said: "This is a step forward as merchant adoption is key to the success of Apple Pay. Apple is expanding its ecosystem to ensure more consumers can access Apple Pay and consumer adoption is as important as merchant adoption to ensure the success of Apple Pay.

"With the existing types of contactless card payment systems already so convenient and simple to use, consumers need to be convinced that Apple Pay provides a much more convenient, secure and simple solution, and this will take some time before adoption will take off," Ng said.