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.
Demographics and the economy
Singapore cards market
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Regulatory and other cards market information
Appendix I: Demographics and the economy
Appendix II: Payments environment
Appendix III: Cards market
Appendix IV: Mobile payments
Appendix V: Profit pool
Appendix VI: The card networks
Appendix VII: Retail banks and issuers
Appendix VIII: Acquiring and processing
Appendix IX: Online acquiring
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Information Systems
Central Addressing Scheme
Credit Bureau Singapore
Credit Counselling Singapore
Development Bank of Singapore
Fast And Secure Transfers
First Data Merchant Solutions
Global Financial Innovation Network
Global Trading Pay
Guangdong Lingnan Pass
Guangzhou Knowledge City
Housing and Development Board
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Info-communications Media Development Authority
Islamic Bank of Asia
Kuriya Japanese Market
Land Transport Authority
Lee Hsien Loong
Monetary Authority of Singapore
National Environment Agency
OCBC Wing Hang China
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation
Payment Services Act 2019
Post Office Savings Bank
Repayment Assistance Scheme
Singapore Quick Response Code
SINO Visitor Pass
World Economic Forum
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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