Tired of constantly hunting down ATMs so you can give your helper or child physical cash for their expenses? Consider these easy-to-use options for cashless payments in Singapore instead!
Have you ever scrambled to find cash at home or had to go out to search for an ATM when your child runs out of money or when your helper needs to do a grocery run? Now, you can skip all that hassle and let your child or helper go entirely cashless! We’ve shortlisted 11 different options for cashless payments in Singapore that’ll not only make your life easier – some will even help you teach your children better financial management skills and help manage your family’s expenses. Plus not having to dole out physical dollar bills and coins and receive change back, means better hygiene for the family. Here’s how you can hop on the cashless payment bandwagon with these great digital payment options!
Canvas is a popular option for helpers and kids to make cashless payments in Singapore. Combining a prepaid Visa debit card and an easy-to-use app, Canvas provides helpers and kids with smart money management and totally eliminates the need to head to an ATM machine. The Canvas card can be used to buy groceries or food, pick up dry-cleaning, pay the bills or transportation and more. As a parent or employer, you will get to observe all the transactions made on the card via the free Canvas app. You can also control your top-up amounts via PayNow, bank transfers or your own credit/debit card, plus check card balances on the go. This way, if your helper runs out of credit while running errands, you can easily top up her card without batting an eyelid.
Your mini-me, on the other hand, can use the Canvas card to manage their weekly allowance, pay for daily public transport and meals with friends. It’s a great way to entrust your child with financial responsibility while still being hands-on enough to teach them how to be financially independent. The cards can also be locked via the app if they’re lost or stolen. Ready to sign up? Download the app from the App Store or Google Play, fill in your details and indicate how many cards you will require. Once they arrive, simply activate the cards and you can start spending! There’s a 30-day free trial, followed by a monthly fee of only $2.99 per card.
Why mamas love it: “My daughter loves using her Canvas card. She takes it everywhere, and it’s part of her daily life now. We add it the list of things to take when we go out – mask, trace token and Canvas card!” – Fiona
New customers can get a 30-day free trial plus $10 credit on each kids’ Canvas card upon activation. Simply complete the form on the Canvas sign-up page!
(Update: As of October 2022 JiPay is closing operations.)
Tailored to suit families with helpers, JiPay is a free and easy way to manage your helper’s expenses. This app uses a prepaid Mastercard that’s linked to the app, which means you can manage your household’s cashless payments in Singapore easily by topping up the card via PayNow or FAST. Your helper will be able to see the card’s balance and all her transactions at any time and can freeze the card if it’s ever lost or stolen. Furthermore, the JiPay app enables you to really grasp your family’s spending habits, as it generates helpful insights that show where you’re spending money and how your spending has changed over a few weeks or months. If you have more than one helper at home, you can use the dedicated ‘helpers’ tab to view and monitor the balance and status for each helper at a single glance. The first JiPay card is totally free – you won’t be billed for any upfront or monthly fees! – and supplemental cards come with a monthly $3 charge. Your basic JiPay plan also comes with three free top-ups per month, plus a $0.50 charge per subsequent top-up.
Why mamas love it: “We like it because we received the card within two working days, with a personal follow up by the founders once it arrived and after a few days of use. With these sorts of things, I always worry about security and plugging in my personal info, but knowing that I can reach out to a person instead of a computer puts my mind at ease.” – Kristen
EZ-Link is the main go-to if you’re looking for cashless payments on Singapore’s public transportation system, but did you know it can be used for more than just the fees for train and bus commutes? If you’re looking to let your child go cashless, then EZ-Link is a safe way to get them started. All you need is a working EZ-Link card (check their expiration dates beforehand at a TransitLink ticket office in any MRT station!) and the EZ-Link app on your phone. Then, add your child or helper’s card to your app, which will let you manage top-ups, watch their card balances and track their transactions anytime, anywhere. In addition to paying for public transportation, EZ-Link cards are also accepted at many merchants around the island. Keep an eye out for the EZ-Link logo at partner merchants, so you can tap your card to make cashless payments and earn points at the same time. Don’t forget to tag your child or helper’s EZ-Link card in the app so you can block it if the card is lost or stolen – the cards can then be replaced at a TransitLink ticket office at the MRT station closest to your home.
Why mamas love it: “My kids use their EZ-Link card to buy food at places like 7-11 and at certain vending machines. I make sure to add a little extra money to their cards via the EZ-Link app. They already had EZ-Link cards from their schools, which made it ultra-convenient. Having this cashless payment option teaches them to be resourceful and they are aware that if they overspend on snacks, they might not have enough money left to take the bus or train home!” – Aishah
Designed by women for women, Lucy doesn’t just simplify cashless payments in Singapore, it also offers fee-free accounts with a Mastercard and empowers your helper with everything she needs to take control of her financial future. The app has named savings pockets that you can utilise to aid your helper in achieving her financial goals, an option for household expense management and even an easy way to automate payment of your helper’s salary. Convenient digital remittances make it easy and affordable for her to send money home, too, without having to worry about added or hidden high costs. Lucy is free to use, and in the near future, your helper will also be able to access business-building and learning tools to help her plan for retirement for when she decides to return to her home country.
Create an account with Lucy, order one of their two cards and then send an SMS to 8809 9269 with the code SASSYMAMA to get $5 added to your account!
One of the most widely accepted forms of cashless payments in Singapore and around the world, Apple Pay replaces physical cards with a more secure way to pay for your goods and purchases, either in-store, on a website or via an app. If you’re already an Apple user, then Apple Pay is built into your iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad. Your helper or child will need their own debit card first, then you can link it to the Wallet app and you’re all ready. Apple Pay offers great rewards and benefits too.
Apple Pay, www.apple.com/sg/apple-pay
DBS PayLah & PayWave
If you’d rather not give your helper or child a physical card, then DBS PayLah! is an easy way to let them make cashless payments at more than 180,000 retail partners and merchants around Singapore. Simply transfer cash to their PayLah! digital wallet via bank transfer or PayNow, and they can use it to book rides, order lunch, book cinema tickets and enjoy great deals. You don’t have to be a DBS customer either, as patrons with any bank account are welcome to enjoy PayLah!’s convenience. Students under the age of 16 can also register for their own digital PayLah! wallet with parental consent! Alternatively, sign your helper or child up for DBS PayNow, which links their existing bank account to the DBS i-Banking app. They can then transfer money to businesses or friends using mobile numbers, a Company Unique Entity Number (UEN) or Virtual Payment Address (VPA). It also makes it easier for you to transfer your child’s allowance, your helper’s salary or emergency funds, as the transactions are free and can be done instantly.
Forget a long list of cards and transaction statements, because Google Pay keeps the focus on the people (and businesses) you interact with most, making cashless payments in Singapore a breeze. Not only can you transfer money to and from a Google Pay account, but you can also create groups with friends or family members who use the app, which lets you split bills and keep track of who’s paid for what. The app can be linked to your DBS PayLah or PayNow, OCBC or Standard Chartered accounts, simplifying the process of transferring money to your helper or child’s accounts. What’s even better? Google Pay uses machine learning and 24/7 fraud detection to keep your money and information safe. You can also use it to order food for pick-up, buy movie tickets and more.
Why mamas love it: “I like Google Pay because of the cash rebates you receive when you pay through the app. It’s also convenient to pay my helper her salary, and transfer cash instantly to her when she needs it.” – Joycelyn
Google Pay, pay.google.com/intl/en_sg/about
Being a GrabPay user isn’t just about convenience. It’s also a great way to receive awesome deals and great perks. Earn points while you spend, and then reuse those points to get discounts at your favourite merchants. In addition to a detailed transaction history that keeps you on track, GrabPay also has an AutoInvest feature now. This new feature lets you invest via your GrabPay Wallet for as low as $1. If you’re a commitment-phobe, AutoInvest doesn’t have a lock-in investment period, so you can easily transfer your money back to your GrabPay Wallet. Get started by linking your or your helper’s credit or debit card to a GrabPay Wallet. Alternatively, you can also use PayNow to top up the GrabPay wallet.
Why mamas love it: “We use the GrabPay card and love it. Since it’s a Mastercard, it can pretty much be used anywhere that accepts cashless payments and we collect Grab points as we go, which act as cashback to offset Grab rides and food delivery orders! The card balance can be easily topped up via the Grab app with real-time updates whenever it’s in use.” – Syazana
NETS has been the go-to cashless payment in Singapore since 1985, and it remains one of the most convenient options for helpers. After all, it’s currently accepted at more than 120,000 points islandwide, and there are other variations that offer added convenience – think eNets, CashCard, Nets FlashPay and even NETS Contactless for SimplyGo. NETS can be used when you shop, board public transportation, make mobile payments and much more.
Why mamas love it: “It’s such a convenient option and is widely accepted at shops. I deposit my helper’s salary to her account, so having a POSB NETS card gives her freedom to control her own money or send money home to her family since there aren’t any service fees.” – Zahra
POSB Smart Buddy
There are a number of local schools now opting for cashless payments in Singapore. One such option schools are employing is POSB Smart Buddy. It’s said to be the world’s first in-school savings and payments platform. Using either a smartwatch or card that’s paired with the mobile app, POSB Smart Buddy lets your child pay for things they need in school or at selected merchants, check their balances and even track their fitness levels. While this cashless payment service lets your child learn how to budget, set savings goals and develop a healthier relationship with money, it also allows parents to manage daily/monthly allowances, auto-transfer savings to the child’s account, set reminders for important payments and monitor their expenses. Click here to see if your child’s school is using POSB Smart Buddy.
POSB Smart Buddy, www.posb.com.sg
Revolut already has a reputation in the market for its incredible finance tools that help you easily manage and track your spending. Now you can extend those same helpful tools to your child with Revolut Junior. Children can use the account, card and app the way they need, but you’ll get instant spending alerts when they do. Additionally, you get to set custom controls for all their cashless payments in Singapore (and overseas, too!) and freeze or unfreeze your child’s card when needed. The Revolut Junior card can’t be used at most age-restricted merchants. Plus, its financial tools have been adapted to be more kid-friendly, so you can teach kids how to save their allowance, delve into analytics and budgeting!
Why mamas love it: “I use the Revolut multi-currency wallet to purchase my online shopping overseas. There’s a huge saving and it’s super easy to convert your money in their app before paying. I’ve given my tween kids a Revolut Junior card and pay them pocket money via the app. Cashless pocket money is so much more convenient. Tracking their expenses is easy too, as you get notified as soon as they transact at the store.” – Anna
Revolut Junior, www.revolut.com/en-SG/get-junior-card