SMBs adapt as more than four in five Singapore consumers change the way they pay due to COVID-19



Eighty four per cent of consumers in Singapore say that COVID-19 has permanently changed how they will pay, according to the Visa Back to Business Study. The fifth edition of Visa’s global study reveals how rapid digital shifts in consumer habits continue to impact commerce around the world and explores the shape-shifting trends that small and micro businesses (SMBs) face in payments and beyond.

The study found that more than half of Singapore SMBs (55%), the highest of all markets surveyed, believe that challenges caused by COVID-19 will outlast the pandemic. One challenge SMBs have adapted to is the increasing consumer preference for safer and touchless ways to pay. In the next three months, nearly four in five Singapore consumers (79%) expect to use contactless payments whenever possible — the highest of all markets surveyed and compared to a global average of three in five (60%). Nearly half (45%) would not shop at a store that doesn’t offer contactless payment methods.

As one of the markets with the highest contactless penetration, Singapore remains at the forefront of the global shift towards contactless payments with more than nine in 10 Visa transactions in Singapore occurring with a tap.

“The global shift towards digital payment experiences shows no signs of slowing down even as Singapore transitions from a pandemic to an endemic phase. Consumers have come to expect contactless payment options when they shop, so it is critical for businesses to embrace digital payments,” said Kunal Chatterjee, Visa Country Manager for Singapore & Brunei.

With an increasingly digital way of life, shifting to digital solutions has, in turn, presented SMBs with new challenges. In Singapore, data privacy and security (40%) are among the top concerns for SMBs when shifting their businesses online. Around the globe, fraud attacks have exposed the vulnerabilities of many businesses, resulting in losses and impacting consumers’ trust and loyalty. In response, nearly half of Singapore SMBs (47%) say security and fraud management software are among the top critical investment areas needed to meet consumer expectations.

“Visa recognises that trust, security and reliability are fundamental to gaining the confidence of both consumers and businesses. Globally, Visa has invested nearly US$9 billion in technology over the last five years to strengthen the payments network to detect and combat fraud,” added Chatterjee. “As the global leader in digital payments, Visa is committed to innovation to develop seamless and secure payment experiences for consumers, as well as commercial solutions to help SMBs transform the way they pay and get paid.”

Over the past year, many local SMBs have accepted new digital forms of payments (45%), focused on new or differentiated products (44%), and expanded into new business locations (41%). Looking to the future, many SMBs intend to expand sales to international customers (44%), sell products or services online (39%), as well as offer home delivery (36%) and kerbside pickup (22%), as the line between physical and digital commerce continues to blur. Consumers in Singapore remain willing to support local businesses; more than two in three (71%) shop at locally-owned SMBs at least half the time.

To date, Visa has digitally-enabled an estimated 16 million SMBs worldwide as part of its multi-year effort to digitalise 50 million SMBs globally. In Singapore and across the region, Visa continues to advance its commitment of supporting 10 million SMBs in Asia Pacific through programs, resources and innovation. Singapore SMBs can leverage Visa’s eCommerce Starter Kit to grow their business online as part of Visa’s Where You Shop Matters initiative, and explore a multitude of innovative solutions that scale with their business’ growth.


Methodology: Visa Back to Business Study 5th Edition

The Visa Back to Business Study 5th Edition was conducted by Wakefield Research between June 15 and June 28, 2021, among 2,250 small business owners at companies with 100 employees or fewer in each of the following markets: Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and United States. The consumer portion of the Visa Back to Business Study: Small Business Month Edition was conducted by Wakefield Research between June 15 and June 28, 2021, among 1,000 adults ages 18+ in the U.S., and 500 adults ages 18+ in each of the following markets: Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, and United Arab Emirates. The data was weighted to ensure an accurate representation of adults ages 18+ in each market.

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