How to visit Singapore using Apple Pay, Apple Wallet, and zero cash

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2023
As travel restrictions finally ease, many are booking flights to destinations such as the tech-forward Singapore. Here's how to visit Singapore's top sights without having to shell out a single physical coin.

Using Apple Pay for food and drinks in Singapore
Using Apple Pay in Singapore is safe and convenient.


On a recent visit to Singapore, both my husband and I were able to go sightseeing around Singapore without any cash. We used Apple Pay to do things like buy hawker street food and ride the Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) system.

The benefits of cashless travel are numerous, such as removing the worries of pickpocketing or losing your wad of cash. As a bonus, you can skip shady currency exchange places.

Prepare before your trip

Before your flight to Singapore, make sure to load your Apple Wallet with the cards you want to use.

Set up your Apple Wallet before your trip
Set up your Apple Wallet before your trip


Singapore's MRT, accepts cards including MasterCard or Visa credit and debit cards and NETS contactless ATM cards. Check Singapore's Land Transport Authority SimplyGo for the latest accepted card payment list.

If you choose to purchase a rechargeable EZ-Link card to ride the MRT, add this to your Apple Wallet before your trip.

You could use any of the above cards for contactless payments by tapping the card at the train station, but loading them up on your Apple Wallet before your trip will save you from having to carry a physical card around town.

Before using Apple Pay abroad, confirm with your bank about any possible fees they may charge.

If possible, when adding a card to your Apple wallet or Apple Pay, use a card with zero foreign transaction fees. It's even better if this is a card that gives you extra points for travel and food transactions, as well as offering travel insurance.

Apple Pay for transportation

Singapore's MRT system is built to handle cashless payments with the tap of a card. However, having your card preloaded onto your Apple Watch or iPhone makes it easier as it's one less thing to worry about.

Using Apple Pay for Singapore's MRT
Using Apple Pay for Singapore's MRT


Before entering the train platform, simply scan your Apple Watch or iPhone with Apple Wallet enabled. Once the card payment has been verified, you can go right through.

Besides the MRT, a popular way to get around Singapore is by Grab or Gojek, on-demand taxi services much like Uber or Lyft in the States.

To use this transportation option, simply enter your card information into the Grab or Gojek app. Your card will be deducted for the cost of the taxi ride, and once again you can do all of this without using any physical cash.

Apple Pay for top attractions

Many top attractions in Singapore accept Apple Pay. Before visiting, research the specific landmarks you want to visit and look for their accepted payments.

Apple Pay is available in many places in Singapore
Apple Pay is available in many places in Singapore


Here is a list from Apple of the current participating banks and card issuers in Singapore.

  • American Express (Bank-issued American Express cards aren't supported.)

  • Citibank (Mastercard and Visa credit cards, Mastercard debit cards)

  • DBS (Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards)

  • HSBC (Mastercard and Visa credit cards, Visa debit cards)

  • Maybank (Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards)

  • OCBC (Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards)

  • POSB (Mastercard credit and debit cards)

  • Singtel (Visa Prepaid Card)

  • Standard Chartered Bank (Mastercard credit and debit cards, Visa credit cards)

  • United Overseas Bank (Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards)

  • Wise

Apple Pay for Singapore street food

Visitors will be pleasantly surprised to find that even modest food vendors accept Apple Pay. For example, we used an Apple Watch to buy curry, naan, claypot rice, and iced Milo from three different vendors at the Marina Bay Sands food court.

Using Apple Pay at a food court in Singapore
Using Apple Pay at the Marina Bay Sands food court.


You can use Apple Pay at places like BreadTalk, a popular bakery chain, or Uniqlo, a favorite clothing brand. When ordering at a food court, each stall will have its own payment options, so double-check before ordering.

Using Apple Pay in Singapore

At the cashier, look for the Apple Pay logo on the card terminal, or simply ask the vendor if they accept Apple Pay. These vendors are comfortable with tourists and are happy to confirm payment options.

This was our experience in Singapore, but your mileage may vary in other countries.

We loved using Apple Pay while exploring Singapore's top sights. We didn't have to hunt down currency exchange stalls or fumble with foreign currency, and we highly recommend going cashless when in Singapore.

Read on AppleInsider
Smith_wesson

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    How is this a story? As a UK resident it makes me laugh. I’ve used ApplePay for years and since lockdown it’s the only way I pay for everything (including in Europe). Odd that the US is so backwards on this…
    iOS_Guy80JaiOh81chialolliverchr15h
  • Reply 2 of 10
    MalcolmOwenMalcolmOwen Posts: 28member, editor
    How is this a story? As a UK resident it makes me laugh. I’ve used ApplePay for years and since lockdown it’s the only way I pay for everything (including in Europe). Odd that the US is so backwards on this…
    As a fellow Brit, I also find it amazing how many U.S. companies cling to older payment systems instead of embracing new ones. Or, in cases such as Walmart, they try to move forward with new payment technologies but do it in such a way as to minimize their payment processing cost or to exert more control over the entire process. 

    If only companies thought about the stuff they're putting customers through sometimes...
    iOS_Guy80appleinsideruserJaiOh81JP234chialolliver
  • Reply 3 of 10
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,431member
    I’ve always enjoyed my visits to Singapore and found it to be much more tech friendly and advanced than most cities in the US. Things like individual parking space tracking in parking garages were in widespread use in SGP at least a decade before they started appearing in the US. I attribute some of this to their limited population, limited space, focus on economic growth, business friendly government, and relative youthfulness as a country and as a population. 

    Singapore is a wonderful country/city with an amazingly friendly and diverse population, but replicating its formula for success on a larger scale is a very difficult challenge especially in countries with massive sunk costs in legacy infrastructure. It does serve as a great example or model, other than the cost of living challenges. I especially miss the hawker centers. 

    JaiOh81spicedJP234radarthekat
  • Reply 4 of 10
    doggonedoggone Posts: 385member
    It is amazing how backward the US is in this regard.  It is also surprising due to the amount of credit card fraud here.  
    My best guess is that the banks and the vendors do not want to spend the money on upgrading.  Interestingly it is often the smaller businesses that have embraced technology faster using devices like Square since they provide a seamless process for payments.  
    About 4-5 years ago we finally got chips in credit cards.  It took a while before vendors had consoles that could recognize them.  Now most places can do contactless payments with a card in hand.  Availability of payment via Apple Pay has improved significantly but it can be a bit kludgy sometimes.  It is definitely easier to use it in Europe.

    Having lived now in the States for over 30 years (previously from the UK) I would have to say that the reason for slow change is that the country is so huge.  For organizations that are nationwide, making changes is hard as rolling out new systems is a lot of work.  Also because of the size of the country, each region has its own way of doing things.  Consider how diverse Europe is in its way of doing things in general.  The US is the same size as Europe and in many ways is as diverse as Europe in how the various regions operate.  Sure the language is the same but Californians live and think very differently from someone on the East Coast.
    appleinsideruser
  • Reply 5 of 10
    chr15hchr15h Posts: 13member
    Thanks for the write up. Off the Singapore soon so great to know Apple Pay is widely accepted. 
    I think Thailand will be a different story, but we’ll soon find out ;-)
    Been to the US a few times now I don’t understand why the swipe and pin technology is still in use. Mind you they’re still using feet and inches. 😂
    dewme
  • Reply 6 of 10
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,858moderator
    dewme said:
    I’ve always enjoyed my visits to Singapore and found it to be much more tech friendly and advanced than most cities in the US. Things like individual parking space tracking in parking garages were in widespread use in SGP at least a decade before they started appearing in the US. I attribute some of this to their limited population, limited space, focus on economic growth, business friendly government, and relative youthfulness as a country and as a population. 

    Singapore is a wonderful country/city with an amazingly friendly and diverse population, but replicating its formula for success on a larger scale is a very difficult challenge especially in countries with massive sunk costs in legacy infrastructure. It does serve as a great example or model, other than the cost of living challenges. I especially miss the hawker centers. 

    It's being used as the model by the mayor of Cebu. Philippines (where I'm currently living).  Fat lot of luck getting there in any reasonable timeframe starting from where Cebu now stands, but the mayor has pushed through a 5x increase in all taxes here, so if that doesn't drive away investment at least he'll have some funds to work from.  

    Anyway, back on Singapore, for anyone planning to go there are two Apple stores.  You should definitely visit the one at Marina Bay Sands, it's very impressive with its huge glass dome.  And don't forget to bring your purchase receipts to the tax refund kiosks in Changi airport as you're leaving.  Takes only a couple minutes and you can get a refund of your VAT tax credited back to your credit card (takes a few days to show up).   Final tip, as indicated in the article, the metro system is excellent, both clean and efficient, looping the city to get you quickly near any destination.  Finally, I can highly recommend the Dorsett Singapore hotel, about $200/night and nicely located near one of Singapore's best night markets. 
    edited January 2023 chr15hdewmejace88
  • Reply 7 of 10
    Was Apple Pay/contactless really accepted at hawker centres?? I haven't been back in 5+ years but I'd be impressed if the local food courts (the ones outdoors with no AC and you have to put your own trays back) accepted this! I don't count the food court in the MBS basement to be a true hawker centre (c'mon, it's a 5 star casino/resort with an indoor river and gondolas...!).
  • Reply 8 of 10
    RkkRkk Posts: 2member
    jace88 said:
    Was Apple Pay/contactless really accepted at hawker centres?? I haven't been back in 5+ years but I'd be impressed if the local food courts (the ones outdoors with no AC and you have to put your own trays back) accepted this! I don't count the food court in the MBS basement to be a true hawker centre (c'mon, it's a 5 star casino/resort with an indoor river and gondolas...!).
    Not for the outdoors ones(but u can still go cashless with virtual wallet apps ). For some of the ones that are indoors with cooling and are also considered to be ‘hawker centres’ with higher prices you can still use Apple Pay.
    Here’s the list of them 
    https://s3-ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/nets-rich-contents/go%20cashless%20promotions%20page%20-%20participating-food-centres-1522052689054.pdf
    edited January 2023
  • Reply 9 of 10
    RkkRkk Posts: 2member
     If you choose to purchase a rechargeable EZ-Link card to ride the MRT, add this to your Apple Wallet before your trip.’ 
    Actually you can’t add transit cards to your wallet app yet. If we could it would be a blessing
    edited January 2023
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