Contactless Payment Technologies

Ditch the cards and clean up the clutter in your wallet by using your mobile phone to make contactless payments at the checkout.

Ditch the cards and clean up the clutter in your wallet by using your mobile phone to make contactless payments at the checkout.

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Contactless payment technology such as Mastercard’s PayPass and Visa’s payWave has revolutionised the way people make everyday purchases.

It’s made it possible to simply tap your credit card or debit card at the checkout without entering a PIN for payments under S$100. And we’ve embraced this option, with research showing Singaporeans are among the biggest adopters of contactless payments in the world.

Now, mobile phone apps are also making their way into our regular spending habits by using the same technology to let you tap-and-go with your phone instead of a card. In preparation for this mobile takeover – and so you can compare your options side by side – we’ve whipped up a comparison of some of the credit card and debit card providers that currently offer a contactless app and what else we can expect from this growing market.


contactless-symbol-250x250How do contactless mobile payments work?

Mobile payments work in a similar way to a PayPass or payWave card. When you have mobile payments set up on your phone, all you have to do is open the app and tap the phone against a contactless card reader – the same way you would with your credit card or debit card. These transactions are also processed on the same network as contactless cards and offer identical security features. But before you can start paying with your phone, there are several factors to consider:

  • Is your mobile phone or device compatible?
    Contactless payments rely on near-field communication (NFC) technology, which means your smartphone or other devices (such as a tablet) must have NFC-capabilities. You can check if this is available by looking at the specifications for the make and model of your phone.
  • Is your credit card or debit card compatible?
    If you see a contactless symbol on your card, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to use it for mobile payments. But while most tap-and-go credit cards and debit cards can be used with a mobile payment app, there are some exceptions depending on the bank and the specific mobile payment service you’re using.
  • What mobile payment apps can you use?
    Each bank offers different mobile payment services, so make sure you check what’s offered through your provider first. Note that generally these applications are also designed for specific operating systems. For example, Apple Pay is designed for use with an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch, while Samsung Pay is designed for Samsung smartphones and tablets that have NFC capabilities. Google Pay is designed for Android devices, including Samsung devices.

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Which banks offer contactless mobile payment options?

Many banks and credit card providers in Singapore include contactless payment services for a variety of compatible cards and mobile devices. This includes Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay, as well as apps developed by specific banks. Here, we’ve outlined the options available through major providers so you can find an option that works for you.

Compare credit cards with contactless payment options

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered offers a number of contactless payment options and mobile applications to suit your card and devices. These are:

  • Visa payWave. Most Standard Chartered credit cards support Visa’s payWave contactless payment technology. This means you can tap your card on a payWave contactless terminal to make payments.
  • EZ-Link. This facility enables you to tap your card to pay for your public transport including public buses, MRT and LRT trains, and commute freely in Singapore.
  • Apple Pay. If you have an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch, this app will allow you to use it for payments with a range of compatible Standard Chartered credit cards and debit cards.
  • Google Pay. Standard Chartered also offers Google Pay for people with compatible smartphones and Android devices running Android 4.4 (KitKat) or above.
  • Samsung Pay. You can use Samsung Pay to make contactless payments from any compatible Samsung smartphone, tablet or watch.

Comparison of Standard Chartered contactless payment credit cards

Name Product Reward Contactless Payments Annual Fee Min Income - Singaporean and PR
Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Credit Card
1.5% cashback on all spend with no cap and no minimum spend
Google Pay
Apple Pay
Samsung Pay
Tap & Go with Mastercard
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get S$80 cashback with activation of card within 30 days upon approval. Existing cardholders will receive S$20. Ends 31 March 2020.
Standard Chartered Rewards+ Credit Card
Up to 10X rewards points for every S$1 spent in foreign currency on overseas retail, dining and travel
Google Pay
Apple Pay
Samsung Pay
EZ-Link
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get S$80 cashback with activation of the card within 30 days upon approval. Existing cardholders will receive S$20. Ends 31 March 2020.
Standard Chartered Spree Credit Card
Up to S$60 cashback monthly with no minimum spend
Google Pay
Apple Pay
Samsung Pay
EZ-Link
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get S$80 cashback with activation of card within 30 day upon approval. Existing cardholders will receive S$20. Ends 31 March 2020.
Standard Chartered NUS Alumni Platinum Credit Card
Earn 1 Rewards point for every S$1 charged to your card
Google Pay
Apple Pay
Samsung Pay
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get S$80 cashback with activation of card within 30 day upon approval. Existing cardholders will receive S$20. Ends 31 March 2020.

Compare up to 4 providers

HSBC

HSBC offers mobile payments through Apple Pay when you have an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch. To make use of this technology, simply load your eligible credit card into the Apple Pay app and make payments in stores, in apps and on the web with just a touch. For each purchase, a unique transaction code is generated so the details of your card are never saved on your device or shared with any merchants.

Comparison of HSBC contactless payment credit cards

Name Product Reward Contactless Payments Annual Fee Min Income - Singaporean and PR
HSBC Visa Platinum Card
5% cash rebate on groceries, fuel and dining
payWave
Apple Pay
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get free Samsonite T5 68cm Spinner luggage with built-in scale worth S$560 or S$150 cash back when you spend S$800 in qualifying transactions from card approval to the end of the following month. Receive an additional S$20 worth of grab rides when you apply online with MyInfo via SingPass. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 March 2020.
HSBC Revolution Credit Card
Up to 5X Rewards points (2 miles per S$1 spent) on online, dining and entertainment purchases
payWave
Apple Pay
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$160.50 thereafter
S$30,000
Get free Samsonite T5 68cm Spinner luggage worth S$560. Simply make S$800 in qualifying transactions in the first month of your account. Ends 31 March 2020.
HSBC Advance Credit Card
Up to 3.5% cashback on all purchases with no minimum spend
payWave
Apple Pay
S$0 annual fee for 1 year (permanently waived for HSBC Advance banking customers) - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get free Samsonite T5 68cm Spinner luggage with built-in scale worth S$560 or S$150 cash back when you spend S$800 in qualifying transactions from card approval to the end of the following month. Receive an additional S$20 worth of grab rides when you apply online with MyInfo via SingPass. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 March 2020.

Compare up to 4 providers

Citi

Like several other providers, Citi offers an in-house mobile payment app known as Citi Pay. This works on any Android device running KitKat 4.4 or higher. Citi Pay also offers a unique security feature: instead of storing your actual card details, it creates a unique Digital Account Number for all Citi credit cards and debit cards loaded onto the app. Citi credit cards and debit cards are also compatible with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

Comparison of Citibank contactless payment credit cards

Name Product Reward Contactless Payments Annual Fee Min Income - Singaporean and PR
Citi Cash Back Card
Earn up to 8% cash back on dining, groceries and petrol worldwide.
Google Pay
Apple Pay
Samsung Pay
EZ-Link
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get a welcome gift of S$120 cash back when you spend S$1,200 in the first 3 months. Ends 31 January 2021.
Citibank SMRT Card
Up to 5% savings on groceries, fast food, movies, and coffee; up to 3% savings on online shopping.
Google Pay
Apple Pay
Samsung Pay
EZ-Link
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Receive a welcome gift of S$120 cash back when you spend S$1,200 in the first 3 months. Ends 31 January 2021.
Citi Rewards Credit Card
10X Rewards on your shopping spend (local and overseas) and online purchases (except mobile wallet and travel-related transactions), plus 1X Rewards Points on all other spend, no cap or minimum spend required
Google Pay
Apple Pay
Samsung Pay
EZ-Link
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Receive 30,000 Citi Thank You points when you spend S$3,000 in the first 3 months. Ends 31 March 2020.
Citi PremierMiles Visa Card
2 Citi Miles for every S$1 spent overseas and 1.2 Citi Miles per S$1 spent locally.
Google Pay
Apple Pay
Samsung Pay
EZ-Link
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Receive 37,300 miles when you spend S$9,000 in the first 3 months and pay the annual fee. Terms and conditions apply. Ends 31 March 2020.
Citi Prestige Card
Earn 5 ThankYou Points (2 Miles) per S$1 overseas spend and 3.25 ThankYou Points (1.3 miles) per S$1 local spend.
Google Pay
Apple Pay
Samsung Pay
EZ-Link
S$535 annual fee
S$120,000
Receive a welcome gift of 62,500 Citi ThankYou Points (25,000 Miles) or Gadget Welcome Gift. Ends 31 March 2020.

Compare up to 4 providers

American Express

Amex was the first credit card provider in Singapore to partner with Apple Pay, back in 2016. It now offers the following options for Apple, Samsung and Android devices.

  • Apple Pay. Load your eligible American Express credit card into the Apple Pay app and you can make in-store and in-app payments with your eligible iPhone. You can also make in-app payments from an iPad Pro, iPad air 2, iPad mini 3 or iPad mini 4 or use an Apple Watch to make in-store payments.
  • Google Pay. There is a wide range of American Express personal and business cards that are compatible with Google Pay, allowing you to make in-store and in-app purchases from any eligible Android device.
  • Samsung Pay. All American Express issued cards are available for use with Samsung Pay, which you can use to make contactless payments from any compatible Samsung smartphone, tablet or watch.

Maybank

Maybank has applied Visa’s payWave contactless payment technology to most of its credit and debit cards. With the technology, you can tap your card on a payWave contactless terminal to pay for all your purchases.

In addition, Maybank has also partnered with Samsung Pay to allow you to make payments with your compatible Samsung smartphone, tablet or watch. You can link any Maybank credit or debit card to this service, including both personal and business products.

DBS

If you’ve got a DBS credit card or debit card, you can choose between any of the following mobile payment services:

  • Apple Pay. If you’ve got an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac, you can use it to make contactless payments with your DBS card via the Apple Pay app.
  • Google Pay. DBS also caters to Android devices, with a selection of DBS credit cards and debit cards compatible with the Google Pay service.
  • Samsung Pay. Load your eligible DBS credit card or debit card into the Samsung Pay app to make contactless payments from any compatible Samsung smartphone, tablet or watch.

OCBC

The OCBC Mobile Banking app on iPhone allows you to make contactless payments with your OCBC credit cards and debit cards using Apple Pay. You may also load your eligible OCBC cards into the Samsung Pay app if you have compatible Samsung smartphone, tablet or watch, or Google Pay app if you have a smartphone running Android 4.4 (KitKat) or above.

United Overseas Bank

United Overseas Bank (UOB) offers its own mobile payment app, known as UOB Mighty. This can be used on Android devices with NFC Support running 4.4 or higher and works with UOB’s range of Mastercard and Visa cards. In addition, if you own an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch, you can use it to make contactless payments with your UOB cards via the Apple Pay app. Same applies with Samsung Pay app if you have compatible Samsung smartphone, tablet or watch.


Although we’ve recently transitioned into a virtually cashless society, we may be moving beyond and into a cardless world. Contactless payment technology via mobile apps could simplify everyday purchases, but given the limitations currently posed by Singaporean bank apps, it may be some time before mobile contactless payments become the norm. Watch this space though, because Finder Singapore will be the first to provide users with a comprehensive comparison of the contactless payment app options available to Singaporeans as they drop.

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