In line with the Smart Nation initiative, Singapore’s dedicated efforts to go cashless are gaining ground. With e-payments proliferating throughout the island, we can buy groceries, hail a cab and have a meal without even touching a physical dollar. We no longer have to carry wads of cash in our wallets to get through the day when our phones and a credit card would more than suffice.
But how do Singaporeans really utilise these cashless payment options? We take a look at a day in the life of Rachel and Titus, a couple in their early 30s, and how they get by almost entirely cashlessly.
Running Day-to-Day Errands Without Cash on Hand
Titus: “I can go out without a wallet. Mostly I get by with Apple Pay. Most people think of e-payments as convenient options, and rightly so. Cash has grown to become more of an exception than a rule in my day-to-day errands, especially considering how my hands tend to be occupied with my toddler and what not. It really makes a huge difference, not having to struggle for my wallet all the time.”
Read More: Why I Stopped Withdrawing Money From The ATM
Buying Household Necessities and Other Purchases
Rachel: “We usually order our groceries online from Redmart. For online purchases like these, which we tend to make a lot, we use iBanking or PayPal. We also Taobao a lot, and for that we use Alipay. The payment processes are quite seamless, and I’m glad I don’t have to get out of the house to do these things so I have more time to look after my kid.
We send our toddler son to infant care, and we automate his school fees via GIRO, so that’s something taken care of every month that we don’t have to worry about. Same goes for utility bills. What’s important is that all our purchases are recorded, so that we can look back at them at the end of the month to get some insights about how we can better manage our money.”
Getting Around On Public Transport
Titus: “For public transport, I use NETS FlashPay. It’s rather useful for e-payments supermarkets and some food courts too. It’s easier to carry one card with multiple functions anyway. It’s a matter of time before they integrate these functions into our phones.
For Uber, it’s quite straightforward, I link it to my credit card. GrabPay’s mobile wallet is more useful because I can regulate my spending by allocating a specific amount on transport. Back when Grab were getting users to pay via GrabPay, there was a whole host of exclusive promos for GrabPay users, so I kind of stuck to it afterwards.”
The Best and Worst Things About Going Cashless?
Rachel: “Well the best thing is definitely the convenience that comes with it.
The worst thing about going cashless is the money management aspect of it. Humans are tactile creatures, and having grown up learning to manage physical cash, I feel that I can better manage my money if I feel my wallet getting lighter. Going cashless takes away that sensory input and replaces it with just numbers. That complicates money management a little, but it’s a matter of adapting to it.”
Is Cash Still Needed?
Titus: “The only time I use cash is when I eat at food courts or hawker centres. Generally, if they accept FlashPay or payWave, I’d use those options. Oh, I also use cash when I give angbaos (red packets) during weddings or special occasions. But those are more symbolic than functional – giving a cashless red packet loses its significance by a great deal.”
Rachel: “I’m quite excited for the day that all coffee shops and hawker centres accept e-payments. Integrating everything onto my phone really makes everything easier, especially with a toddler in tow. I am also waiting for the day they allow NFC (near-field communication) for public transport, so I can use my phone’s digital wallet to make payments.”
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