Contactless payment Singapore: All you need to know

Aman Saxena

Contactless payments can be made easily in Singapore, in stores and restaurants, and even when taking the train or bus. In fact, almost half of all Singaporeans prefer making contactless payments compared to other options such as regular card payments or cash.

Read on to know more about how to make contactless payments in Singapore. We’ll also cover how you can make simple and convenient payments when you’re at home and abroad - and save on currency conversion - using the Transferwise borderless account and multi-currency card.

What is contactless payment?

Contactless payments are a simple and secure way to pay for goods or services using your payment card, or another device like an activated smartphone. When you make a contactless payment you don’t need to enter a PIN or sign anything - you simply tap or wave your card or device on a reader, for the payment to be automatically deducted.

How does contactless payment work?

Contactless payments work using either RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) or NFC (Near Field Communication). The chip in the card or device can ‘talk’ to the merchant’s reader when it’s closeby, allowing you to simply hold the card or device near to the reader to complete a purchase. The transaction is then automatically deducted from your linked account, with no need for any further authorisation.

Can I use contactless in Singapore?

Contactless technology is widely accepted in Singapore. Each individual business will decide whether or not to use contactless, but you will find many stores and restaurants welcome contactless payments as they save time and are more convenient for both customer and merchant.

From June 2019 you’ve also been able to pay for train and bus rides using contactless payments on your phone or card². Unified cashless payment terminals have also been rolled out to some 500 hawker food stalls, with more to come³.

Is contactless payment safe?

Contactless payments have been designed with security in mind. Modern encryption technology is used to make sure your data is safe, and contactless payment providers monitor payments constantly to make sure there is no suspicious or fraudulent activity.

To give an example - here’s what happens if you’re making a payment using a Mastercard issued contactless card. You tap your card on the merchant’s reader, and the embedded RFID chip and antenna in the card will generate a one time only 3 digit code which is picked up by the reader and identifies the transaction. No other data - such as your name or security code - is transmitted. This means that it is extremely difficult for any fraudster to use any of the information available at the point of a contactless transaction to commit a crime.

All that said, to offer peace of mind to customers, many contactless payment providers - such as Mastercard - offer a zero liability guarantee, which means that you’ll be compensated if your card were somehow compromised during a contactless payment.

How many times can you use your contactless card?

Check with your card issuer or contactless payment provider to see if there is a daily limit on the number of contactless payments you can make. In most cases, there will be no limit on the number of transactions, but you may need to use your card in a card reader and enter the PIN from time to time if the number of transactions being made is extremely high. This is to check that it’s really you using the card, and prevent fraud.

What is the limit for contactless payment?

Because contactless payments can be made without a secondary form of identification such as a PIN or signature, they’re mainly used for smaller transactions.

Most contactless payment providers in Singapore use a limit per transaction of around SGD100⁵. However, the final decision on the per transaction limit lies with your bank, card issuer or payment provider, so you’ll need to check the small print for your chosen payment method.

Get your Wise borderless card - a multi-currency account that is on average 7 times cheaper than banks

person using transferwise borderless card

If you’re looking for a smart and simple way to manage your money across borders, check out the Wise multi-currency borderless account which comes with a linked multi-currency card for day to day spending at home and abroad.

You’ll be able to hold your money across multiple currencies, and switch between them whenever you want to- using the mid-market exchange rate. There’s no markup added to the conversion rate - just an upfront and transparent charge per transaction. This can mean you pay much less for cross border payments and withdrawals compared to alternatives - and you could save 7x compared to your regular bank.

Wise offers convenience as well as a great price, with an easy to use app with push notifications to allow you to keep up with your spending no matter where in the world you are.

Sources used for this article

All sources checked as of 26 November, 2019

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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