Mobile Payments May Be Key to Singapore’s Savings Plans

February 27, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

We know that mobile payments can be a very convenient way of buying the things we want and need, with other points like safety and the like coming along for the ride. However, we don’t often consider the savings advantages that mobile payments can provide, and as a new report out of Singapore suggests, maybe we should.

With mobile payments on the rise to the tune of 53 percent, and 40 percent of Singapore’s credit card holders now using mobile wallets, there’s a lot of opportunity here for mobile providers to step in and offer useful services. Banks haven’t lost the point here either, offering more rewards to consumers that use mobile wallets.

For instance, the OCBC Titanium Card offered four miles for every Singaporean dollar spent on shopping. Now, it makes that same offer for everyone using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and several other mobile payment systems. Standard Chartered recently expanded its own repertoire in similar fashion, a development that gives users a lot more choice and cost savings on travel.

It’s actually possible to get better rewards with a mobile payments system than without; the OCBC Titanium Rewards Card is a great example here, offering that four miles per dollar rate as opposed to the more common 1.2 – 1.4 mile per dollar range found from other cards. Using an Apple Pay account linked to the DBS Live Fresh Card offers as much as a 10 percent rebate for contactless transactions, impressive when the Citi Cash Back Credit Card reportedly offers around eight percent for Grab rides.

Naturally, these rewards could prove temporary if user bases ramp up in overall size, but this could be just the start. Cost savings are great, but what if there were more to it? What if the mobile wallet could take those cost savings and deposit them in a savings or money market account? The average user likely wouldn’t notice a difference, and the end result would be higher rates of personal savings. That’s a benefit to the larger economy as a whole.

Immediate cost savings are great; they encourage spending under the “why not? I’ve got it” principle. But while Singaporeans are enjoying short-term savings with discounts, they could also be enjoying long-term savings with small adjustments in behavior and mobile payments applications.