How to Survive a Day in Singapore Without Cash

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Imagine waking up late for work one day. You rush out of the house with your phone and realize that you left your wallet behind. Can you survive a day in Singapore without any cash and your ez-link card? It might have been difficult in the past, but with mobile payments and e-wallets becoming commonplace, having a day without your wallet is not as worrisome as before. If you ever find yourself with only your phone, here’s what to do.

Rushing to Work with Grab or Uber

Since you’re running late, you’d want to catch a taxi to work. Grab is a great option to consider as they allow you to pay cashlessly with GrabPay. GrabPay allows you to enter your credit or debit card, Alipay or Android Pay.

Android phones users can use Android Pay for added security as it masks your actual credit card details.

GrabPay would only see your virtual account number which adds a layer of security to your transactions. Another point to note is that Android Pay supports Mastercard and Visa cards only for both their debit and credit cards. So American Express cards are out. Android Pay can also be used outside of GrabPay.

If you’re not a fan of Grab, perhaps you’d already be using Uber. Hopefully, you’ve already added your credit card or PayPal details before, so not having cash won’t be an issue. Credit cards user should note that your transactions are processed in the Netherlands, which makes it a foreign transaction. This would incur an additional cross border processing fee of 0.8% for Visa and 1% for Mastercard.

Getting to work without cash, check.

Mid-Day with Dash & Apple Pay

Couple of hours later, it is lunch time and you are hungry. Now is the time for Dash to shine. Dash payments are accepted at many places, thus allowing you to eat at Food Republic, Killiney Kopitiam, Itacho Sushi, KFC, and Pizza Hut, among others, which we’re pretty sure you can find at most shopping malls.

If food coma kicks in after lunch, perhaps you need a coffee. This is when you can get $2 off from Starbucks when you use a DBS card or a POSB cards on Apple Pay. Android Pay is also accepted at Starbucks.

As the work day draws to an end, it’s time to head home. For most of us, the usual way home is via the train or the bus. But you don’t have your wallet, so you should borrow some money from your colleagues, right? Not true. Because guess what? Dash allows you to tap in and out of the MRT gantry with just your phone. It also allows you to pay for your fares on SBS and SMRT buses.

This makes life much easier. The only drawback is that you will need to have a Dash Easy bank account with Standard Chartered Bank.

At this point, you might be hungry again because it is time for dinner! You meet your friends for dinner and you realize that they do not have an account with Standard Chartered Bank for you to transfer money to them for dinner. Bummer.

Evening with DBS PayLah! & Android/Apple Pay

But the good thing is, most people have bank accounts with DBS, UOB, OCBC and Citibank. This is where DBS PayLah! comes to the rescue. Despite its name, DBS PayLah! is not an exclusive e-wallet for DBS or its subsidiary POSB.

DBS PayLah! works with all 20 banks which provide FAST electronic transfer services in Singapore. DBS PayLah! works on both Apple and Android phones. You can easily authenticate your transaction with your fingerprint on their TouchID for Apple phones.

In other words, your friends have no reason not to split the bills with you (unless you’re trying to get away with a free meal?).

Before you reach home, you can also visit the local NTUC Fairprice or Cold Storage supermarket and use Android Pay or Apple Pay to do some last minute shopping. Remember to use those credit cards that reward you for grocery purchases, since you will still get your rewards despite paying through your mobile phone.

So, you don’t really need your physical wallet to survive in Singapore, at least for a day or two. We have plenty of options as far as e-wallets are concerned. But you still need to set up GrabPay, Android Pay or Apple Pay, Dash and DBS PayLah! in advance. If you haven’t tried them, why not give them a go this weekend? You never know when they will come in handy.

Additional reading: 5 New Mobile Payment Methods in Singapore

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