E-wallets in Singapore: are they safe to use?
E-wallets, or digital wallets, are tools used to facilitate e-commerce or online financial transactions.
The payments could be made for many reasons, ranging from purchasing goods and services to paying for utility bills and even allows you to settle your medical and hospital bills; and the list is constantly growing.
In short, anybody that accepts payments from a given electronic payment system or has an account with that payment processor can accept payments from and send payments to businesses and individual consumers alike with an e-wallet.
What are some of the most popular e-wallets in Singapore?
In Singapore, both online payment processors and mobile wallets have gained popularity in recent years.
One of these wallets is Singtel Dash. With it, you can pay for your commute on taxis, buses, LRTs or MRTs and shop till you drop at participating outlets.
Also, you can transfer funds to your friends or family members or anybody else when you need through your Singtel Dash account, without the need to remember their bank account numbers.
You would need a Singtel near-field communication (NFC) SIM and an NFC-enabled smartphone to make use of Singtel Dash, though.
Much of the same principle applies when using Samsung Pay, Apple Pay or Android Pay. But it does not stop there. digital wallets launched by banks, such as PayLah by DBS or Pay Anyone by OCBC, have also gained traction.
As with everything digital, there are always security concerns. Despite much assurance from payments processors, there are reports of frequent hacks and leaks.
There is an ever-present risk of transacting over an insecure connection and having your personal details stolen and abused. Moreover, cross-border payments are harder to adjudicate on.
Even within a small country like Singapore, there is no uniform acceptability for e-wallets the way cash or cards are accepted. And occasionally, you are charged a transaction fee.
In online transactions, disputes between merchants and buyers are difficult to settle. Who resolves the dispute and how can you be compensated for any potential loss?
The future of e-wallets
Rather than replacing traditional modes of payments altogether, digital wallets are likely to end up becoming alternative players, the same way that tablets and smartphones have not pushed personal computers to obsolescence just yet.