Digital payments and online shopping on the rise among seniors in Singapore: Visa Study



Seniors in Singapore are turning to online shopping and digital payments due to COVID-19, with more than one-third of seniors (36%) having shopped online in the past 12 months, compared to one in four in 2018 (25%), according to Visa’s Digital Inclusion Research 20211.

Seniors are also using eCommerce to purchase a variety of essential and non-essential goods. Top online purchase categories include clothing (69%), food and groceries (68%), and household or cleaning products (63%). Convenience (79%), ease of use (64%) and the ability to shop from the comfort of their homes (63%) have encouraged greater eCommerce usage amongst this segment of Singaporeans.

Nearly one-third of Singapore seniors (30%) are also more likely to shop online than visit physical stores. This is a positive reflection of more seniors joining the shift towards digital-first experiences, with the pandemic accelerating digital adoption due to safe-distancing measures and hygiene concerns.

“It’s encouraging to see more of Singapore’s seniors start to embrace digital payments even if it’s as a result of the pandemic. As the global leader in digital payments, Visa is committed to advancing digital inclusion and making sure that no one gets left behind. While many seniors in Singapore are now aware and use digital payments, there is still further opportunity to change the behaviour of those who have not embarked on this journey. Therefore, we recognise the importance of educating our seniors so that they too can benefit from seamless and secure digital payment experiences,” Kunal Chatterjee, Visa Country Manager for Singapore & Brunei, said.

Based on the study, a significant number of seniors in Singapore are aware of a variety of digital payment methods, particularly contactless card payments (90%), QR code payments (67%) and mobile contactless payments (56%). For contactless cards, familiarity also translates to high usage — over two-thirds of seniors in Singapore (68%) have used contactless card payments. Almost one-third (31%) of them have used mobile contactless payments, and one in five (22%) have used QR code payments.

Those who use digital payments are motivated by faster transactions, widespread acceptance, ease of use and security of transactions. Greater reassurance around transaction speed, transaction safety and fraud prevention will help to encourage greater usage of card payments among seniors in Singapore.

Nearly two in five Singapore seniors (37%) cited a preference for going to shops that accept digital payment methods over those that only accept cash, while half (50%) intend to stick to digital payment methods even after the pandemic ends.

Mobile banking apps have seen significant growth since 2018. Some 85 per cent of seniors in Singapore are aware of mobile banking apps, while more than half (55%) are users, compared to 31 per cent three years ago. Among users of mobile banking apps, over four in five (81%) cite frequent use and great comfort in using such apps. They use mobile banking apps most frequently for checking their account balances (97%), viewing their transactions (96%) and transferring money to other people (81%).

With digital banks set to reshape Singapore’s financial services space, nearly one in four seniors are interested in digital banking. More than half (51%) are open to moving few or some services to digital banks. Resistance is largely linked to habit, with two-thirds of seniors in Singapore (66%) being used to visiting physical bank branches. Seniors also require assurance on the security (42%) and reliability (33%) of digital banking transactions.


1 The Visa Digital Inclusion Research 2021 was conducted in May 2021 by ENGINE Insights with 200 Singaporean Citizens and Permanent Residents from 50 to 80 years of age. The study explores access, literacy and participation in digital payments and commerce services among older consumers in Singapore.


About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device, for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit