Cash Matters to Singapore’s Youth

Jul 17, 2023


Regardless of personal payment preference, ‘there are still moments where it might be wise to have cash on hand,’ says an article on Singaporean National Youth Council website Youthopia, concluding that however popular cashless options become, ‘we should be reminded [they] cannot wholly replace the use of cash.’

Writer Han Xinyi opens by highlighting disruption of DBS Bank’s digital services that occurred twice within two months earlier this year, with card services affected in a 5 May incident. Student Fisqtina Asyura spoke of her embarrassment when she offered to pay for her friend’s meal, but ultimately had to let her friend pay—and was unable to shop afterwards—when her card transactions were declined. ‘She now carries at least $10 or so in her wallet when heading out for school or outings as a safety net. It puts her at ease as she can fall back on it should another disruption occur.’

The value of cash for budgeting also should not be underestimated, with Xinyi citing 19-year-old student Amanda El Husna Binti Haryanto, who swears by physical money to keep her spending in check.

Having that physical reminder of how much money I had left in my wallet definitely helps me decide if I really should buy something or put it back on the shelf.
"Amanda El Husna Binti Haryanto, PSB Academy Student

Businesses also have good reason to choose cash over cashless options, Xinyi says, with hawkers and other local, small businesses preferring to take payments in banknotes and coins thanks to their tangibility—which helps with keeping track of incomings and outgoings—and their security. Hawkers in particular—having to prepare food and take payments with a very high turnover at busy periods—have concerns around ‘dishonest customers and fake transaction proofs,’ which can make it appear payment has been made when it has not. ‘Choosing cash... is how they reduce the risk of getting exploited.'

While the range of payment options continues to increase, cash remains an essential backup for when cashless payments are unavailable, whether due to network outages or user errors such as a forgotten PIN. It also offers different advantages to other payment methods, such as tangibility that can help with budgeting and limiting overspending.

The next time you leave the house, you just might want to make sure you have some spare cash on hand.
"Han Xinyi, Writer,
Last Updated: Jan 12, 2024