​Apple Pay now available for MasterCard users in Singapore

MasterCard customers in Singapore will be able to use Apple Pay to make contactless payments in stores equipped with contactless readers using the latest Apple Watch or iPhone.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

MasterCard cardholders in Singapore can now use the latest iPhone or Apple Watch to make contactless payments using Apple Pay, the digital wallet from the Californian tech giant.

Apple users in Singapore can use the iPhone's digital wallet to make purchases in stores equipped with contactless readers by tapping their phone and authenticating the transaction by their thumbprint or passcode for verification, or by holding their Apple Watch to the card reader.

Within mobile apps, payments can be made on iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4, and iPad Pro.

The credit card giant said consumers in Singapore are supportive of the idea of adopting contactless payments, saying consumers in the city-state are among Asia's top three adopters of digital wallets and interest has been climbing steadily, with one in four likely to use a digital wallet compared to just one in 20 three years ago.

"The biggest change we've seen in the payments space recently is the transformation of every electronic device into a shopping device, from mobile phones to watches. The readiness of Singapore's consumers to embrace mobile payments, coupled with the rapid uptake of mobile payments, is quickly changing the dynamics of shopping and transacting online," Deborah Heng, group head and general manager of MasterCard Singapore, said.

MasterCard also said Wednesday it is working with major banks, including DBS, OCBC, POSB, Standard Chartered, and UOB, to enable their customers to use their MasterCard credit or debit cards with Apple Pay.

Apple's digital wallet launched in Singapore last month, but it was limited only to those with American Express issued credit cards. It was said at the time that Visa credit cards would be added to the wallet "soon".

Despite MasterCard's confidence in the marketplace, Ng Zhi Ying, Forrester's researcher for e-business and channel strategy, said Apple Pay's success in Singapore would be slower than expected.

"Some banks in Singapore have rushed to become the first few banks to partner with Apple for Apple Pay, but we believe financial institutions should not simply cede the digital wallet relationship to Apple Pay [and should] think carefully about the sources of value that a partnership will bring, and the terms that the partner offers," she said previously.

Samsung announced the rollout of Samsung Pay in Singapore a day after the iPhone maker launched its wallet.

In addition to American Express, Samsung Pay's partnership ecosystem in the region initially included MasterCard, Visa, and major banks such as DBS/POSB, OCBC Bank, and Standard Chartered.

Singapore was the third market in Asia Pacific to receive the technology after it launched in South Korea last year and in China via local vendor Union Pay in February.

Apple Pay was launched in Australia in November, with American Express also the only financial institution partner joining the iPhone maker's near-field communication payments solution at the time.

Since then, ANZ became the first major Australian bank to join Apple Pay, offering the service to its 5 million customers in the country. At the time, the bank's CEO Shayne Elliott said the motivation behind launching ANZ Apple Pay was the pressure he received from customers.

It was also revealed in April that Samsung Pay had 2.59 million users in South Korea, where the mobile payment system was used 41 times per user on average in March, making it the most used mobile payment app in the country.

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