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Brief: Singapore lags behind in online payments

The news (extracted from Today):

  • Ninety percent of Singaporeans surveyed by online payments giant PayPal say they prefer to use cash as their primary mode of payment, with only a small percentage using online payments regularly.
  • The preference for cash in Singapore was followed in popularity by other traditional payment methods such as bank transfers or internet banking at 74 percent, with 61 percent saying they prefer credit cards.
  • Despite these preferences, only 43 percent use cash regularly, citing problems such as having insufficient cash on hand and long queues at ATMs.

Why it matters:

  • The Singaporean government has emphasized going cashless as one of the key pillars of its “Smart Nation” initiative, but the PayPal study suggests the country has some catching up to do.
  • The study surveyed consumers in China, where only 25 percent use cash regularly. On average across Asia, 57 percent of consumers use cash regularly.
  • In his National Day Rally speech earlier this month, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that when visitors from China find that they have to use cash in the city-state, “they ask: How can Singapore be so backward?”

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