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How to pay in Singapore
Find out the different ways you can spend in Singapore.
From digital payment apps to more traditional approaches like using cash, there is a huge range of methods of payment you can use in Singapore.
This guide will cover the different ways you can pay in Singapore, including the most popular methods and platforms.
Despite the official endorsement of electronic payments in Singapore, some smaller retail shops and food merchants still find comfort in cold, hard cash. Cash-on-delivery (COD), a common term for in-person P2P transactions is also preferred by some, even for food delivery and other online purchases from local e-commerce websites.
Fortunately, automated teller machines (ATMs) are installed in almost every corner and are highly accessible, so that you can always withdraw cash without waiting in a queue.
Paying with card
With the Singapore government pushing to create a completely cashless society, as well as the rise of e-commerce and online shopping, Singapore residents are paying with cards now more than ever. These include debit cards and credit cards.
Debit cards, which typically comes with any bank account in Singapore, allow you to spend only as much as you own. This way, you can spend on the go without worrying about accumulating interest fees.
Credit cards are widely accepted in Singapore. With contactless payment features, credit cards are now easier to use than ever. Instead of having to key in your PIN number, you can simply wave your card in front of the payments terminal for purchases below S$100.
Here is a list of common credit card providers in Singapore for you to consider.
- American Express
- Diners Club
Stored value cards (SVC)
Also known as electronic money (or e-money), stored value cards can be used to pay for goods and services offered by the issuer or its partner merchants.
- EZ-Link. The EZ-Link is a contactless multi-purpose, rechargeable SVC that’s primarily used transit payments for local public transport. The EZ-Link mobile app also enables automatic top-ups, transactions tracker, reward points and more.
- NETS FlashPay. NETS FlashPay is a multi-purpose SVC that can be used for public transport fares, retail purchases, as well as paying for ERP and car park charges.
Paying with your smartphone
From Apple Pay to Google Pay, mobile payment methods in Singapore allow you to transact conveniently from your phone. Instead of using a bank card, you can pay for your purchases by simply bringing your phone near a payment terminal.
Take a look at the wide variety of mobile payment options available in Singapore below:
Mobile payment with a linked credit or debit card
With digital payment apps, you can store details for multiple credit or debit cards on your smartphone. This way, you can simply pay with your mobile instead of fumbling through your wallet during checkouts:
- Apple Pay. A mobile payment and digital wallet service developed by Apple Inc that uses Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology to allow users to make payments directly on compatible devices (e.g. iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad). Cards from participating banks such as DBS, OCBC and HSBC may be linked to Apple Pay.
- Google Pay. Developed by Google, Google Pay is a digital wallet platform and online payment system that enables users to make online or contactless payments on compatible Android devices. Find out which banks supports Google Pay service in Singapore.
- Samsung Pay. Samsung Pay is a secure digital wallet service that power in-app, online, and in-person contactless payments on compatible phones and other Samsung-produced devices.
- PayPal. With the PayPal mobile app, users can now make payments on the go to millions of retailers around the world – directly from their Android and iOS devices.
- QR code. A QR (Quick Response) code is a type of matrix barcode that can be read by smartphone cameras. These machine-readable codes are commonly used for storing URLs or other information, including encrypted card details for secure payment. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, QR scanning has become more prevalent in Singapore due to SafeEntry, the national check-in system.
Mobile payment with a linked bank account
Most banks in Singapore have launched their own mobile apps or support the digital registration of your credit/debit cards to e-wallets. This way, you can make payments conveniently from your smartphones.
Here are some of the most common payment apps in Singapore:
- PayNow. Launched by collaborating banks in Singapore, PayNow is a P2P e-payment service that enables users to send and receive Singapore dollars instantly from one bank to another by using just their recipient’s mobile number, QR code, Singapore NRIC/FIN or Company Unique Entity Number (UEN).
- DBS PayLah!. DBS PayLah! is the bank’s own cashless payments system and mobile wallet for POSB and DBS account holders to perform transactions such as funds transfer, bill payments and other in-app and online purchases.
- OCBC Pay Anyone. OCBC Pay Anyone app is equipped with a wide array of features for OCBC customers to manage their finances on the go, including QR code payments at participating merchants, fund transfers/requests and more.
- UOB Mighty. The UOB Mighty app enables UOB customers to view all their accounts at a glance send and receive payments, get competitive FX rates, redeem rewards and more. Users can also pre-set their cash withdrawal amount on the app for contactless ATM withdrawals at any UOB ATMs.
- NETSPay. A mobile application that allows you to link your DBS, POSB, OCBC and UOB NETS bank cards and make digital payments by simply tapping or scanning a QR code with your mobile phone.
Mobile payment through an application payment service
In recent years, many fintechs and social media giants have launched their own cashless payment systems to facilitate online transactions, while offering additional perks from partner establishments.
Here are some of the most popular payment platforms for users in Singapore:
- Alipay. Alipay is a widely used online payment platform in China that is increasingly accepted by retailers in Singapore. With Alipay, users can transfer funds, plus make payments in-store and online quickly and conveniently via their smartphone.
- GrabPay. GrabPay is a virtual payment feature offered by Grab, a Singapore-based fintech and ride-hailing giant. It’s integrated within the Grab app and comes with a variety of payment options and a mobile wallet that holds your Grab balance.
- Singtel DASH. Launched by Singtel – Singapore’s largest mobile network operator – Singtel DASH is an all-in-one mobile digital wallet equipped with a host of payments and finance management features. Users can pay, remit, save, insure and even earn Dash reward points from their daily expenses.
- WeChat Pay. WeChat Pay is an integrated payment solution on WeChat, an instant messaging and social media platform in China with over 1.25 billion monthly active users. Through WeChat Pay, users can complete payment quickly and securely with smartphones.
- FavePay. FavePay is a cashless, mobile payment feature connected to the Fave app, a fintech platform offering QR payments service and cashback to reward customer spends at its partner merchants.
Mobile payment through mobile wallet and prepaid virtual cards
Prepaid digital wallets typically offer more convenience (especially for travel and global spendings) and greater control over your expenses.
Some of the most popular digital payment service providers are:
- Revolut. London-based fintech Revolut offers a free digital banking app, a physical card, a virtual card and a full suite of advanced money management features. You can choose from three membership tiers, but every account allows you to spend in over 150 currencies at the interbank exchange rate and exchange 28 fiat currencies.
- YouTrip. YouTrip is Singapore’s first multi-currency digital wallet with a linked Mastercard that doubles up as an EZ-link card. With YouTrip, you can make payments online and at POS (point-of-sale) terminals worldwide, plus exchange and hold up to 10 different currencies.
- BigPay. BigPay, AirAsia’s fintech venture includes a digital wallet app and prepaid Visa card that is accepted at over 53 million merchants worldwide – without any markups on foreign exchange. Users can also benefit from AirAsia travel privileges and withdraw cash from overseas ATMs.
Buy now pay later apps
Buy now pay later (BNPL) services are making waves in Singapore and around the world as an alternative payment to credit cards.
With BNPL, customers can split their payments for purchases in short instalment periods – typically up to 3 months – without any interest charges or fees. According to a survey conducted by Milieu in October 2020, 38% of Singaporeans – an estimated 1.1 million people – have used a buy now pay later service. Read more in our BNPL report.
These are some of the most well-known BNPL providers in Singapore:
Direct debit is an automatic collection arrangement that enables merchants to debit their customers’ accounts directly, typically used for recurring bill payments. To set up a direct debit instruction, you’ll need to submit a prior approval.
In Singapore, the most common form of direct debit is through GIRO (General Interbank Recurring Order). Read our guide to learn how GIRO works.
Bank transfers and other traditional payment modes
Before technology reinvented the payment landscape in Singapore, the transfer of funds mostly relied on the following methods:
- FAST. FAST (Fast and Secure Transfer) is an electronic funds transfer service that facilitates instant interbank transfers in Singapore.
- MEPS. MAS Electronic Payment System (MEPS) is an SGD-only online interbank payment and fund transfer system designed for large-value settlements.
- Cheques. A cheque is a paper instrument that lets you make a payment from your bank account. However, cheque usage in Singapore is rapidly getting obsolete due to the rise of digital payments.
- Telegraphic transfers (TT). An electronic method of transferring funds that is primarily used for overseas wire transactions.
How to pick the right payment methods in Singapore
Out of all these methods, which method of payments should you use in Singapore? Consider the following factors before making a decision.
- Safety. Different payment methods come with their own risk. E-wallets, for instance, might not be regulated as strictly as traditional banks in Singapore. The way you intend to store and use your money will determine which level of security you seek, and thus, the method of spending you choose.
- Fees. How much does it cost for you to spend? Although most local bank transfers and online payment methods are free in Singapore, overseas remittance usually comes with fees and margins on FX rates. Digital payment service providers may also charge a monthly subscription fee if you wish to take advantage of premium features. These small fees can add up so be sure to consider your banking habits before choosing a preferred method of payment.
- Convenience. Digital bank accounts, cards, mobile payment platforms, and e-wallets offer a world of convenience when it comes to making payments in Singapore. Debit and credit cards typically come with contactless payment features so that you can tap to spend without keying in your PIN number. Mobile payment solutions also offer this tap-and-go convenience. E-wallets and digital banks, on the other hand, allow you to spend in a few taps through a handy mobile app.
From mobile payments to direct debits, there are plenty of ways you can spend in Singapore. The method of payment you choose will ultimately depend on your purchases and personal spending preferences.
Compare a range of digital banks in Singapore
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
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Guide to PayNow
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Banks with Google Pay in Singapore
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