Apple Pay now available to more cardholders in Singapore

Nurdianah Md Nur

Apple has expanded its mobile payment service Apple Pay in Singapore.

Besides American Express cardholders, Apple Pay is now available to customers of DBS/POSB, OCBC, UOB and Standard Chartered. This means that more than 80 percent of credit and debit cardholders in the republic are able to use the service.

Andrew Chia, Head of Retail Banking, Standard Chartered Singapore, said that the bank hopes that by offering Apple Pay, it will "provide convenience to its clients by enhancing their access to fast, safe, secure and private payments through mobile devices within apps and in-store. "

Meanwhile, OCBC Bank hopes that its partnership with Apple Pay will encourage mobile payment adoption so that Singapore can become a "truly cashless society by 2020", said the bank's Head of Group Lifestyle Financing, Desmond Tan.

To use Apple Pay, users will first need to register their cards on their iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch. Thereafter, they can swipe/wave their device over contactless payment terminals to pay for goods and services. However, there is a S$100 cap for most transactions.   

Currently, Apple Pay is accepted at StarHub, NTUC FairPrice, Starbucks, Uniqlo, TopShop, and Shaw Theatres.

Commenting on the expansion of the service, Michael Yeo, senior analyst at market research firm IDC Asia-Pacific's Financial Insights & Retail Insights team, told MyPaper that Singapore may still be some years away from being a cashless nation "but digital wallets like these are bringing that vision one step closer."

Echoing his sentiment, Forrester's senior analyst Clement Teo said: "Going forward, given that Singaporeans are quite used to Tap and Pay (given Visa PayWave and MasterCard PayPass), the adoption of contactless payments has the potential to grow further. It would depend on the ecosystem of partners, as well as serving users in their mobile moments of need."

"[However,] not everyone will want to own an Apple iPhone, and for which there is the alternative (e.g. Android Pay/Samsung Pay), but that hasn't quite permeated the user base as yet. In addition, Apple Pay still precludes cards issued by Citibank, ANZ, Maybank and Bank of China, and with the exception of UOB, the spending cap set at $100 might deter users who wish to make larger purchases," he added.