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Singapore Country Report

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  • Published Date: February 2020

A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and merchant acquirer market in Singapore.

Although growth prospects are being hampered by negative global variables, payments players and regulators continue to push seamless solutions, collaboration and interoperability. The new Payment Services Act has changed the game for providers in that space, while the opening up of the highly developed payments sector for mass transit will boost transactions for global schemes.

Cash remains stubbornly popular, despite residents' love of both payment cards and smartphones, but the city-state's new unified QR standard is threatening cash in its low transaction-value strongholds. Meanwhile, a pair of retail digital bank licences are to be issued in 2020, along with three wholesale equivalents: the regulator has stipulated that the new licensees must be locally controlled.

What you will learn from this Singapore cards market report:

  • How cash is slowly but surely departing everyday life in Singapore
  • Why QR code innovations are set to influence the region
  • How cooperation among rivals continues to be transformative
  • Which Singapore regulatory changes are proving decisive – and how
  • How mass transit is set to boost the global card schemes in Singapore

SINGAPORE CARDS & PAYMENTS REPORT | KEY FACTS

  • Three local banks, DBS, UOB and OCBC, dominate the Singapore market, with competition provided by foreign banks such as Citibank and HSBC.
  • The use of cash and cheques as a means of payment for consumer transactions has decreased in recent years, with electronic payments becoming ever more popular.
  • Cash though remains prevalent at dining halls, hawker stalls and wet markets, all fixtures of everyday life in Singapore.
  • A Singapore government initiative aims to reduce cash usage at such merchants by providing point-of-sale devices based on an interoperable QR code and a subsidised merchant service charge.
  • Singapore has a thriving credit card market, with attractive rewards available to the large affluent segment.
  • There were an estimated 3.3 billion e-money transactions in 2019, dwarfing the 1.4 billion made using credit and debit cards.
  • Since 2019 however, commuters with contactless Mastercard- and Visa-branded cards can tap and pay on public transport.
  • Domestic rivals have demonstrated a capacity to cooperate, most dramatically with NETS, built by the three major local banks.
  • The latest example is the Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR), the product of a partnership involving dozens of players that agreed on a common QR code and unified point-of-sale terminals.

Singapore Payments Research | Report Contents

Key Topics
Demographics and the economy
Payments environment
Cards market
Mobile payments
Profit pool
The networks
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Online acquiring
Regulatory and other cards market information
Appendices: Data

Appendix I: Demographics and the economy

  • Demographic and economic indicators
  • Ownership of key consumer devices
  • Internet usage by population

Appendix II: Payments environment

  • Access points
  • Account penetration
  • Consumer payment trends
  • B2C e-commerce payment methods

Appendix III: Cards market

  • Total cards payment metrics
  • Contactless cards metrics
  • Credit card data numbers
  • Total credit cards metrics
  • Credit cards profitability indicators
  • Debit cards numbers
  • Debit cards metrics
  • Prepaid/e-money cards metrics

Appendix IV: Mobile payments

  • Mobile P2P payments

Appendix V: Profit pool

  • Profit pool

Appendix VI: The card networks

  • Networks' credit card market shares
  • Networks' credit card numbers
  • Networks' credit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of credit card transactions
  • Networks' average credit card transaction value
  • Credit card interchange fees by network
  • Networks' debit card market shares
  • Networks' debit card numbers
  • Networks' debit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of debit card transactions
  • Networks' average debit card transaction value
  • Debit card interchange fees by network

Appendix VII: Retail banks and issuers

  • Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers
  • Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings
  • Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers

Appendix VIII: Acquiring and processing

  • Merchant acquirer credit card market share
  • Credit card merchant service charges
  • Merchant acquirer debit card market share
  • Debit card merchant service charges
  • Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships
  • Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships
  • Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers
  • Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions

Appendix IX: Online acquiring

  • Online merchant acquirer market share

Singapore Country Report | Selected Extracts

Demographics and Economy:
For its size, Singapore's economy is remarkably diverse and a top performer in a number of industries – foreign exchange and finance, oil- refining and manufacturing. Its largest companies are drawn from industries such as telecommunications, banking, transportation and manufacturing.

Payments Environment:
On the back of the Smart Nation initiative to improve key aspects of life in Singapore on the basis of technological developments, with one area of focus being e-payments, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the establishment of a Payment Council in 2019.

Cards market:
In 2019, each Singaporean adult had, on average, almost 15 cards in their wallet: two credit cards, two debit cards and ten e-money cards. Consumers in Singapore are increasingly savvy in their use of cards and other payment methods.

Mobile Payments:
The market appears to be on the cusp of change though as a consortium including Diners Club, EZi Wallet, EZ-Link, Liquid Pay, Mastercard,
UnionPay and Visa produced the SGQR, described at its launch as the first of its kind worldwide.

Profit Pool:
Singapore's credit cards market maintains healthy profitability, with high profit per card. This is a result of relatively high billings per card and considerable borrowing through credit cards. Profit per card stood at an estimated $90 in 2019.

Card Networks:
Visa has established itself as the leading credit card brand in Singapore with an estimated 56% market share of billed volume in 2019. The debit cards market in Singapore is dominated by domestic debit card network NETS, which is owned by the three major banks: DBS, OCBC and UOB.

Key Retail Banks and Issuers:
There are five key issuers in Singapore's credit cards market: DBS, Citibank, UOB, OCBC and HSBC. These five banks collectively accounted for an estimated 71% of credit cards in issue in the country by the end of 2019.

Acquiring and Processing:
The three major acquirers in the credit cards market remain DBS, UOB and Wirecard which together represent a market share of some 70% of transactions on credit cards. NETS established the domestic debit scheme, NETS EFTPOS, in 1986 and became the sole acquirer of the service.

Online Acquiring:
With internet usage at 91.4% and one of the highest smartphone penetration rates globally (94%), Singaporeans are among the top online shoppers in Southeast Asia.

Regulatory and Markets Information:
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has encouraged fintech development but has also been cautious in its stance: for example, it has signalled that consumer lending by e-wallet operators requires them to ring-fence funds.

Singapore Payments Trends | Entities Referenced

Adyen
Alipay
American Express
Ant Financial
ANZ
Apple Pay
Asia Pay
Association of Banks in Singapore
Banco Nacional Ultramarino
Bank OCBC NISP
Bank of China
Bank of China Singapore
Bank of Singapore
Banking Computer Services
BCS
BCS Information Systems
BCSIS
BNU
BOC
BOCSG
Braintree
Caltex
CapitaLand
CapitaVoucher
Carousell
CAS
CBS
CC Financial
CCS
Central Addressing Scheme
CEPAS
Citibank
Citibank Singapore
Credit Bureau Singapore
Credit Counselling Singapore
Credit Saison
CTS
Dash
DBS
DBS PayLah!
Development Bank of Singapore
DFB
Digibank
Diners Club
DWB
EasyCard Corporation
eBay
eNETS
Enterprise Singapore
Esso
EZi Wallet
EZ-Link
EZ-Reload
FAST
Fast And Secure Transfers
FDMS
First Data
First Data Merchant Solutions
Fiserv
GFIN
Global Financial Innovation Network
Global Trading Pay
Gojek
Google
Google Pay
Grab
GrabPay
GTPay
Guangdong Lingnan Pass
Guangzhou Knowledge City
HDB
Housing and Development Board
HSBC
IB Asia
ICBC
IMDA
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Info-communications Media Development Authority
Islamic Bank of Asia
JCB
JTC
JTC Corporation
Kuriya Japanese Market
Land Transport Authority
Lazada
Lee Hsien Loong
Liquid Pay
LTA
MAS
Mastercard
Maybank
Meidi-Ya
Monetary Authority of Singapore
MotorPay
MyInfo
National Environment Agency
NEA
NETS
NETS EFTPOS
NETS FlashPay
NETSPay
NETSTARS
OCBC
OCBC Al-Amin
OCBC Wing Hang China
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation
Payment Council
Payment Services Act 2019
PayNow
PayNow QR
PayPal
PayPass
PayWave
Piyush Gupta
POSB
Post Office Savings Bank
PSA
Qoo10
Rakuten Singapore
Redmart
Repayment Assistance Scheme
Robinsons
Samsung Pay
SGQR
Shopback
SimplyGo
Singapore Airlines
Singapore Quick Response Code
SingPass
Singsaver
Singstat
Singtel Dash
SINO Visitor Pass
Smart Nation
SmoovPay
Standard Chartered
Stripe
Takashimaya
Taobao Marketplace
Temasek
Tencent
Tmall.com
TMRW
Unified Point-of-Sale
UnionPay
UOB
UPOS
vCashCard
Visa
WeChat Pay
Wirecard
World Economic Forum
Worldpay
XFERS Wallet
Zalora

MORE ASIA-PACIFIC CARDS & PAYMENTS REPORTS

Verisk financial reports deliver detailed market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquirers, retail banking, and consumer credit in the Asia Pacific region. Analysts use primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and finance experts.

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