From the middle of next month, consumers will be able to pick up a stored-value card from convenience stores and minimarts, and use it like they would any debit or credit card.
The twist? They do not need to set up a bank account, or submit their payslips to apply to use the 16-digit MasterCard.
These new stored-value cards are the brainchild of local firm MatchMove Pay and mark its first foray into issuing physical cards here.
The two-year-old financial-tech start-up, which has a remittance licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), currently provides virtual versions of these cards for online purchases.
For the virtual card, its partners are MasterCard and American Express, although its partner for the physical cards is only MasterCard.
The cards are aimed at consumers who do not have bank accounts or do not qualify for a bank-issued credit card.
Its virtual platform, known as MatchMove Wallet, was launched in January last year and has 30,000 users here.
Users of both the virtual and physical MatchMove card must be at least 18 years old, and will be asked to provide their NRIC numbers, as required by MAS, during registration.
The big draw of the stored-value cards, which will be available at over 600 locations, is security.
Said MatchMove Pay CEO and founder Shailesh Naik: "If it's a credit card, you're liable to the bank; if it's debit, it's tied to your bank account."
However, with the MatchMove stored-value card, the only money at risk is the balance in the card.
The card can hold up to $1,000 and its value can be topped up at the convenience stores where it is sold, as well as via e-bank transfers or a bank-issued credit card. A transaction fee may apply.
The MatchMove card also allows parents to manage their children's spending.
"If you don't want to leave your card details with your kids or online, you can now give them their own stored-value cards," Mr Naik said.
Plus, parents can track their children's spending and set alerts for purchases via an upcoming MatchMove app. In the app, parents can also limit purchases to certain merchants such as iTunes or online video game store Steam.
Card users get a complimentary United States billing address, which will come in handy when shopping at websites that do not accept credit cards or PayPal accounts without a United States billing address.
The idea to start MatchMove Pay came about because Mr Naik feels that there is a huge, untapped market in Asia, which is still largely dependent on cash.
"There are trillion-dollar economies that depend almost entirely on cash," Mr Naik said.
MatchMove Wallet is now available in the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
The company has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from investors such as Japanese financial service and investment firms Credit Saison and GMO Venture Partners.
Mr Naik added: "The idea behind the wallet is that we want people to feel safe, that there is no mystery about what is going on with their money."
This article was first published on November 26, 2015.
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