Rise of Apple Pay drives DBS to push for cashless Singapore

The popularity of mobile payment service Apple Pay since it started here in April has prompted DBS Bank to step up efforts to drive a cashless Singapore.

More than 47,000 of DBS' credit and debit cards have been put into the Apple Pay system, said Mr Anthony Seow, the bank's head of cards and unsecured loans in the consumer banking division.

He added yesterday that 45 per cent of the cardholders who actively used Apple Pay had made three or more transactions in the past two weeks.

The new system has not only encouraged more people to use contactless payments, but also increased the frequency of such payments and the amount spent.

The bank's credit card users on Apple Pay now average three contactless transactions a week, up from two a week before Apple Pay came in.

Debit card users are even keener. They used to make only one contactless payment a week, but Apple Pay has lifted that to an average of three. The amount Apple Pay credit card users spend increased by an average of 108 per cent, compared with before the service began, while debit card users shell out an average of 166 per cent more.

Apple Pay started here on April 19 and with only American Express cards. On May 25, five banks, including DBS, signed up, allowing credit and debit card users to tap and pay with their mobile devices. The other four are POSB, OCBC Bank, United Overseas Bank (UOB) and Standard Chartered Bank.

Consumers add their card details to a digital wallet on their iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches, and make payments with a tap on terminals with a contactless payment reader.

DBS is confident that contactless payments will continue to take off, which is why it is leading an industry effort to raise a general $100 transaction limit for contactless payments - to prevent the abuse of lost cards - to $200, and eventually to do away with limits entirely.

Mr Seow said: "Since last year, we've been engaging the main schemes such as Visa and MasterCard to make changes at the country level."

UOB has already lifted the $100 transaction limit for mobile contactless payments at its terminals. It now follows the card limit instead. Mr Seow said: "UOB has gone in the right direction and we are doing it too, but we want to make sure this is consistent across the industry, so consumers will not be confused."

DBS also announced its latest payment system called DBS FasTrack, which targets smaller businesses and their customers.

Consumers now can download the FasTrack app for tea and coffee chain Old Tea Hut's Marina Bay Link Mall outlet to place and pay for an advance order and then to collect it once it is ready.

The app has been downloaded more than 2,500 times since its release two weeks ago.

Mr Seow said over 4,000 drinks have been sold in 11 days via the app, increasing sales at the outlet by more than 10 per cent.

Food chain Old Kim Guan also started using the system this week and Five Star Chicken Rice will start soon, said DBS. The target is to expand this to 200 locations by early next year.

Mr Seow said: "With all our plans, the idea is to displace cash, provide a pleasant consumer journey and platforms to help merchants go cashless and drive up productivity."

This article was first published on Jun 10, 2016.
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