Head to China and you’ll realise that people there are totally comfortable making payments with their mobile phones. All they have to do is download mobile wallet app Alipay, and then beep their phones to make payments.
But in Singapore, despite all that talk about building a cashless society, mobile payments have still been rather slow to gain traction here.
While mobile wallet systems like Google Pay, Alipay and Apple Pay have been quick to target the Republic and have rolled out local mobile wallets over the past few months, Singaporeans have been cautious about adopting them.
Let’s take a look at three of the biggest players on the market and examine just why we should be using them:
Apple Pay was one of the earliest mobile wallets to hit our shores, and their target customers have of course been users of Apple devices. They’ve amassed a respectable stable of merchant partners, but it remains to be seen if they’ll survive the competition presented by Google Pay.
How to use: Download the app, create an account and the add your credit card. To make payments, beep your Apple device at payment terminals where Apple Pay is supported. You can also use Apple Pay to make online payments.
Pros: Easy, convenient and fast to use. Can be synced with other Apple devices like Apple Watch and iPad.
Cons: Only works on Apple devices.
Supported banks: American Express, DBS, HSBC, OCBC, POSB, Standard Chartered, UOB
Where you can use Apple Pay: 7-11, Best Denki, BreadTalk, Challenger, Coffee Bean, Cold Storage, Cotton On, Da Paolo, Din Tai Fung, FairPrice, Food Republic, G2000, Giant, Guardian, iStudio, Jasons, M1, Market Place, Pastamania, Shaw Theatres, ShengSiong, SPC, Starbucks, StarHub, SwissBake, Toast Bo, Topman, Topshop, Typo, Uniqlo
Alipay previously launched a Singapore mobile wallet, but that was only available for Lazada purchases and has since become obsolete. Still, business owners should be aware that offering Alipay as a payment option can still be a good idea, as Chinese nationals in Singapore, whether living or holidaying here, can still pay using their Chinese Alipay mobile wallets.
Pros: Contactless payment method that a huge number of Chinese nationals use, hence useful for businesses serving Chinese customers.
Cons: Not available to Singapore customers.
Where Alipay is offered: Taxi operators like ComfortDelGro and Prime Taxis, many merchants in the Chinatown area and at Suntec City, Universal Studios Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore Zoo, Metro and Robinsons stores, several hawker centres.
Google Pay is the newest player in the mobile wallet landscape in Singapore, having been launched just a few days ago, replacing the previous Android Pay and Google Wallet. Already, they’ve built up an impressive stable of merchant partners.
How to use: Simply download the app, sign in with your Google account and then add the credit and debit cards you wish to use. You can then use Google Pay to make online payments Paypal-style, or use contactless technology to beep your phone at brick and mortar merchants.
Pros: Easy, convenient and fast to use. Can be used on all mobile operating systems.
Supported banks: American Express, DBS, OCBC, POSB, Standard Chartered, UOB
Where you can use Google Pay: 7-11, Cheers, Cold Storage, Guardian, McDonald’s, FairPrice, ShengSiong, Toast Box, Uniqlo, Watsons, Alchemist, Atlas, Bedok Mall, Bread Talk, Bugis Junction, Bukit Panjang Plaza, CapitaLand Malls, Challenger, CitiCab, Clarke Quay, Do Si Rak, Dorothy Perkins, Founder Bak Kut Teh, Fox Kids & baby, Fuel Plus, G2000, Giant, IMM, Jasons, JCube, Junction 8, K.Cook Korean, Kraftwich, LotOne, Market Place, McCafe, Metro, Mustafa, OG, Pacamara, Pastamania, Plaza Singapura, Raffles City, SaladStop!, Sembawang Shopping Centre, Shaw Theatres, StarHub, Subway, SwissBake, Tampines Mall, The Latin Quarter, The Nook, The Soup Spoon, The Star Vista, Topman, Topshop, Warehouse Club, Westgate, Butchery Zac
It looks like Google Pay is going to sound the death knell for Apple Pay. The latter’s fatal flaw is the fact that it is available only on Apple devices. But now that Google Pay is on the market, and offers an even wider range of merchants than Apple Pay ever managed to partner, it makes no sense not to make the switch to the former. For businesses thinking of which payment systems to offer, Alipay is a strong contender if said business is located in an area frequented by tourists or has a large Mainland Chinese clientele.