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Technology, Society, Singapore, Featured

Has COVID-19 accelerated the death of cash usage?

Singapore has been trying to go cashless for some time, and the COVID-19 pandemic may have accelerated the movement. Our latest findings show that only 23% of Singaporeans still prefer cash as a primary mode of payment, while 75% are comfortable paying with a mobile phone – reaching a high of 84% among 25 to 34-year olds.

This eagerness is tempered by the sheer number of competing mobile payment platforms. Nearly half of all Singaporeans (48%) are frustrated that there is no single digital payment option that makes it easy and convenient to move money instantly. The share of disgruntled users grows to 56% among the under 35s.

Despite this barrier, mobile phones may be close to replacing payment cards the same way cards have gradually replaced cash. At the moment, 47% of Singaporeans say cards are their preferred mode of payment – but with one in four Singaporeans aged 25 to 49 preferring phones, the trend may change quickly.

At 51% of usage, PayNow wins the mobile payments war – with DBS Paylah and PayPal trailing behind (both at 40%)*.

Overall, the year 2020 may not be the year Singapore goes completely cashless, but evidence suggests that mobile phones are likely to displace cash within the next five years.

*A full dataset of all mobile payment brand usage in Singapore is available from Blackbox upon request. Contact us for more details.