Education is key to Visa's strategy to help Singapore become a cashless city

Visa released its Consumer Payment Attitudes Survey 2016 last week

Visa released its Consumer Payment Attitudes Survey 2016 last week, which showed a large majority of Singaporeans embracing device-initiated payments, such as on demand services and peer-to-peer payments.

Close to two thirds of Singaporeans have used on demand services for transportation, meal delivery and groceries delivery, based on the study, while seven in 10 respondents are aware of such options and one in four respondents are already using peer-to-peer services to split a bill after a meal.

While the findings are somewhat expected, given the rise of mobile technology, what may come as a surprise to many is that the global payments technology company found the age gap between the younger and older generation who use mobile payments to be extremely close.

Previn Pillay, head of merchant solutions, Visa Asia Pacific, told the The Drum: “Many people would assume that millennials are driving the growth of mobile payments, but research we conducted with YouGov across Asia Pacific earlier this year shows there's not a big gap compared to older consumers."

“For example, in Singapore, 77% of people aged 18-34 say they're interested in trying out new ways to pay, while those over 35 are right behind them at 76%.

“In Hong Kong, where a range of mobile payment options are coming to the market, 79% of those aged 18-34 say they're likely to try out new ways to pay, compared to 73% of those over 35.”

Pillay attributed Visa’s strategy to actively promote the usage of their products to their customers as one of the reasons why there is not a huge gap between millennals and the older generation when it comes to using mobile payments.

“We're excited to see payments moving beyond plastic into mobile phones, wearables and internet-connected devices,” said Pillay, who worked for Visa for nine years in various countries.

“Part of what we're focused on is helping educate consumers - your Visa card can be used in more places than ever before.

“And the same security and benefits are there even when your physical Visa card becomes a digital version that's linked to your phone.”

While there are cities like Amsterdam, where a majority of retailers have gone cashless, Pillay demurred when asked to predict a timeframe for Singapore to become a cashless city.

“It's less about the specific timeframe for moving to being a cashless city and more about the criteria that will need to be in place for a cashless culture to succeed,” he explained.

“We're focused on giving merchants around the world the ability to accept all forms of digital payments.

“Mobile phones will be key to this. Seventy per cent of the world – or more than 5 billion people - will be connected via mobile device by 2020, meaning each and every one of those mobile users could potentially accept an electronic payment.”

Last year, Visa reported three billionth contactless payments in Europe over the course of 2015 to early 2016.

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