90 percent Singaporeans prefer cash transactions, citing privacy concerns: Paypal

According to a Paypal survey, 90 percent of Singaporeans prefer to use cash as their primary mode of payment, despite the government's emphasis on digital payments to support the Smart Nation vision.

Only a small percentage of Singaporeans use digital payments regularly, said Todayonline in a report. 

The Paypal study surveyed 4,000 consumers and 1,400 merchants across seven markets in Asia — China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Singapore. 500 consumers and 200 merchants were surveyed in Singapore. 

On digital payments, Singapore lagged far behind China, with only 3 percent regularly using electronic or mobile wallets, as compared to China’s 48 percent. The average in Asia was 12 percent.

Photo courtesy: SMU
Photo courtesy: SMU

51 percent of respondents in Singapore who did not adopt digital payment methods cited privacy concerns, while 36 percent felt the new methods were too complicated, with too many steps or processes.

“We are already taking great strides in making digital payments part of our daily lives, but as rightly pointed out by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally speech, we still have some ways to go," said Rahul Shinghal, general manager of PayPal South-east Asia. "Our report also shows that Singapore is lagging behind countries like China in the adoption of digital payments.”

However, the survey results noted that there was a high awareness of digital payments here in Singapore. Two out of three consumers surveyed were aware of at least one digital payment method, and 82 percent have used such payment methods.

Ironically, this high level of awareness and the multitude of options “may pose a barrier to full adoption of digital payments,” according to the report. “The plethora of digital payment options in Singapore and the lack of interoperability between the varying systems may cause many to default to a payment mode that they are comfortable using, which is cash,” said the Paypal study.

PayPal also called for a push for an “integrated payment infrastructure from the government and industry players” to address this issue of interoperability.

Kareyst Lin
Kareyst Lin – Senior Correspondent

Kareyst has experience in writing about B2B technology for Computerworld Singapore, MIS Asia and CIO Asia; and on government technology for GCIO Asia. Her pet areas are artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and smart cities - these are fueled by her obsession with sci-fi movies and philosophy of mind. An active Yoga practitioner and cat lover, with a background in Indian philosophy, subaltern and diaspora studies.


How do you spend your time during Covid19 stay at home?

  • Watching movies and shows on Netflix, Aamazon Prime etc.
  • Physical activity, exercise, yoga, HIIT etc
  • Playing online games, PS4, X-box.
  • Reading books.
  • Making a list things you will do once this is over
Write your story

Contribute an Article

Learn more