Card Payments In Singapore Will Rebound In 2021 With Improving Economic Conditions: GlobalData


By Ron Chen, Correspondent ASEAN Region

Card payments in Singapore, which have seen sustained growth in the last few years, registered a decline in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They are set to rebound in 2021 with a 10.2 per cent growth due to improving economic conditions and reducing impact of the pandemic, forecasts GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

According to GlobalData’s Payment Cards Analytics, card payments are set to revive with the reopening of businesses, recovery in consumer spending and the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination program. Against this backdrop, the value of card payments is forecast to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2% between 2020 and 2024 to reach S$129.8bn (US$96.5bn) in 2024.

Credit and charge cards were the most preferred card payments method in Singapore, accounting for 64.1 per cent of the total card payments in 2020 while debit cards accounted for the remaining 35.9 per cent share. The increase in consumer demand for credit, especially from the growing middle-class, helped the growth of credit and charge card transactions during the review period.

Banking and Payments Analyst at GlobalData, Nikhil Reddy comments: “Singapore payment cards market is well developed with majority of the consumers having access to payment cards. However, the ability to earn cashback and other rewards associated with credit cards make them the preferred card payment.”

However, the economic slowdown and the travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic forced individuals to spend prudently, which resulted in the reduced usage of payment cards in the short-term. The value of credit and charge card payments registered a decline of 9.4 per cent in 2020, higher compared to the 3.8 per cent decline in debit cards.

With the revival of the economy, credit card usage is expected increase. According to GlobalData’s Payment Cards Analytics, the value of credit and charge card payments is forecasted to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7 per cent between 2021 and 2024 while debit cards will grow at a CAGR of 5.3 per cent during the same period.

The government, in collaboration with commercial banks, is also taking various measures to support credit card market. To help those facing difficulties making card repayments in full, an initiative was introduced allowing consumers to convert their outstanding card balances to term loans at a lower interest rate.

Mr Reddy concludes: “Singapore has a developed payment infrastructure and high consumer preference for electronic payments. While the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty associated with it impacted card payments, the resumption of business activities along with the recovery in consumer spending will bring it back to the growth trajectory over the forecast period.”

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