SINGAPORE: Tech giant Apple announced the expansion of its mobile payment service, Apple Pay, in the Republic on Wednesday (May 25).
Before this, only customers with cards issued directly by American Express were able to use the service.
It is now available to customers of DBS, OCBC, Standard Chartered and UOB. That translates to about 83 per cent of credit and debit cards in the country.
Apple Pay allows users to register their credit cards on their iPhone or Apple Watch, and pay for goods and services by swiping their device over contactless payment terminals.
The mobile payment service is available in six countries worldwide. Singapore was chosen as the first market in the region - outside of China - to roll out the service, something Apple executive Ms Jennifer Bailey said was partly due to "contactless acceptance" and penetration of debit and credit cards.
Said Ms Bailey: “There’s a number of things we look at from a market perspective, as we choose the timing of Apple Pay. The first is, do we have a lot of great iPhone and Apple Watch customers in the market since that is needed in order to use Apple Pay."
“The second is, the penetration of credit and debit cards," she added. "Singapore is a very popular market for credit and debit - over 78 per cent of the customers here prefer to use credit and debit cards over cash.
“And then the third factor is what we call contactless - which is the way the phone actually talks to the terminal to enable Apple Pay. So you have great contactless acceptance in Singapore as well.
“So all these factors - lots of iPhone customers, lots of contactless, and great credit and debit make it a great market for us.”
IDC analyst Bryan Ma said that the expansion of the service "gives Apple Singapore much, much wider coverage of users beyond Amex previously". He added on Twitter that while the expansion was expected, he did not think it would come this soon.
REWARDS PROGRAMME IN FUTURE
The tech giant wants its users to do more on their phones, looking to enrich their user experience, and to do it in a secure environment.
Beyond replacing the wallets, users in the region can expect a rewards progamme in future.
"We rolled out a loyalty programme in the US and we’re starting to bring that internationally as well," said Ms Bailey. "So more and more you can expect us to focus on many of those things that are in your wallet today, to be able to use the same technologies that we use with Apple Pay."