SINGAPORE (Mar 24): Close to 65% of Singaporeans are open to the idea of adopting a digital-only bank, according to the Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study.

This study was conducted in October last year with 511 Singaporeans, much before the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) had closed its application for the digital bank licences.

On Jan 7, MAS announced it had receive seven applications for the two digital full bank (DFB) licences on offer, and 14 applications for the three digital wholesale bank (DWB) licences. MAS says the new digital bank licences attracted strong interest from a diverse group of applicants which include e-commerce firms, technology and telecommunications companies, FinTechs (such as crowd-funding platforms and payment services providers) and financial institutions.

The applicants themselves have expressed confidence their consortiums have what it takes to reach out to millennials and the underserved.

According to Visa’s study, 84% of Singapore respondents indicated that they would be interested in using digital banking services offered by an existing bank, while 75% are keen to bank with financial services companies and other reputable companies that are not in financial services. Additionally, 63% of respondents are also keen to bank with new startups.

Among those who are open to digital banking services offered by non-banks, 60% are willing to switch some services from their current bank to new digital banking players which have no prior banking experience.

However, only 20% respondents said that they would move all their services to a neobank without hesitation.

According to Visa, respondents are attracted to the sign-up promotions, innovative products and services, as well as access to better rewards. The top services that respondents would use a digital bank for include money transfers to family and friends (64%), paying bills (63%) and payments at retail shops (56%).

Meanwhile, Singaporeans say that they would prefer digital banks because of the convenience (54%), faster service (52%) and not needing to wait in line (45%).

Kunal Chatterjee, Visa Country Manager for Singapore and Brunei says, “When the region shifts to a millennial, digital-led demographic, more consumers will expect digital-first experiences, and want their banking and payments to match the speed and convenience of their user journeys.”

“At Visa, we are a network of networks to facilitate seamless money transfers, and our role is to connect and work with banks and fintechs to deliver the best-in-class payment experiences to make consumers’ lives simpler and more seamless,” adds Chatterjee.