Singapore is the most developed country in the ASEAN region, maintaining a very high level of healthcare, education, personal safety, housing, and quality of life. The nation’s financial inclusion sounds impressive: 98% of Singaporeans have a bank account, 49% use credit cards, 9.5% take advantage of mobile money account, and 57% make online purchases and payments.
Mobile financial services also seem to be gaining more traction. Digital 2019 Singapore report notes that 64% enjoy mobile banking, 36% make mobile payments, and 54% prefer buying through a mobile phone.
Smartphone penetration is expected to be up to 81% by the year 2022, Statista reports. Mobile internet use in Singapore is sure to ramp up gradually, creating the conditions necessary to provide nationwide penetration of mobile financial services.
According to another authoritative source, J.P. MORGAN 2019 Global Payments Trends Report – Singapore Country Insights, Singapore is one of the world’s wealthiest countries with the seventh-highest gross domestic product per capita making up $323.9 billion. Although growth indicators are good, the nation’s e-commerce as a share of overall retail spend is comparatively low, the report states. Mobile commerce makes up 42.3% generating $2.1 billion. Thus, there is much room to grow in this respect. For this to be realized, the government is set to improve the e-commerce sector by bringing up to date e-commerce laws and regulations as well as by promoting mobile financial services.
Singapore is ready for digital financial services
The regulatory support is always positive and regulators are anxious for the financial technologies companies to gain traction and are ready to offer their assistance, says chief fintech officer at the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Singapore is set to allow non-banking financial institutions and fintech companies to challenge traditional banking organizations.
Two digital full bank licenses are going to be distributed, allowing non-banking corporate structures to take deposits from retail clients. Besides, three digital wholesale bank licenses are expected to be issued for organizations to serve small or medium-sized enterprises.
According to a Forrester report The Pulse of Financial Services Customers in Asia-Pacific, digital-first banks are supposed to get a sizable boost in the ASEAN region in a couple of years. A considerable number of Asia-Pacific respondents are ripe for switching to digital-only banks in the near future since 77% of bank clients in the region prefer digital channels.
The two main players to be involved in providing digital-first financial services are bound to be financial institutions, in particular banks, and telecom companies.
The banking industry and the telecom market in Singapore
The International Monetary Fund finds Singapore’s financial system to be resilient under any circumstances including a global financial market crisis. While promoting financial technologies, the Monetary Authority of Singapore manages to preserve the balance as well as safeguard the financial health of the country, as reported by the Business Times.
As of Oct 11, 2019, there are 131 banks in Singapore, Statista states.
The main banks of Singapore include:
▪ DBS Bank
According to Asiamoney best bank awards 2019, the domestic market of Singapore is dominated by three top banks: UOB, DBS, and OCBC. Being a top-tier regional financial hub, the financial system of the country is well developed and highly integrated into international markets.
The telecom market in Singapore is represented by 13 telcos:
Banks and telecom companies are expected to collaborate
For a variety of reasons, telecom companies (compared to banks) do a much better job of reaching and acquiring the client. Consequently, they have a far larger market share and customer base. Banks are bound to build partnerships with telcos to promote their products. Such collaboration is a win-win-win for financial institutions, telecoms, and merchants. And, what’s more, it is convenient for and desired by the customers. According to Forrester research, a lot of people in the ASEAN region want to be enabled to solve their financial issues through a mobile device.
2019 Global Payments Trends Report – Singapore Country Insights reports that cards are the most common e-commerce method (68%). However, the card market share is supposed to be gradually declining due to the introduction of new fintech technologies. In contrast, e-wallets are predicted to expand at a dramatic pace over a few next years, reaching 22.5 % by the year 2021.
The development of Singapore’s mobile financial services
Therefore, the development of effective mobile financial services with their further implementation is expected to increase substantially. Among existing fintech solutions, special attention should be paid to wallet platform with the name speaking for itself. Wallet platform is not a mere e-wallet. It is a digital wallet solution with the e-money processing center for any prepaid solutions. The client is provided with a white label mobile eWallet app, integrating banks, telecoms, merchants, and customers into a comprehensive system. As a result, banks are able to promote their products to numerous telecom customers with mobile providers receiving interest from efficient promotion.
Wallet platform by Wallet Factory maintains B2B, B2C, and P2P interactions integrating all the levels of payment activity. This fintech tool is unique in offering an efficient technical enterprise-grade solution as well as in providing business development support.
For what it’s worth, the digitalization of Singapore’s financial industry is inevitable and unstoppable. The traditional methods being used by conservative banks threaten to dent their popularity due to user experience gradually getting low. Those, keeping pace with fintech development, are sure to succeed and make financial services and banking accessible and much more convenient to Singaporeans.