E-wallets let you store e-money and pay for things using prepaid facilities. Find out what you should look out for.
- E-wallets include physical cards like EZ-Link card and NETS CashCard, as well as app-based wallets like GrabPay and PayPal.
- Limit the amount of money in your e-wallet in case you lose it or the issuer runs into difficulties.
What are e-wallets
You may not realise it but you have been using e-wallets for many years. Early examples of these include public phone cards, "MRT cards" (as they are known colloquially), and physical shopping vouchers.
Basically, e-wallets let you load money to pay for goods or services. While many of these facilities come in the form of physical cards — EZ-Link card, NETS CashCard, are examples — it is increasingly common to have digital versions, thanks to smartphones. GrabPay and Paypal are some of the digital e-wallets today.
E-wallets service providers may also provide money-transfer services. You may wish to refer to Understanding Money Transfer for specific details on money transfers.
Types of e-wallets
There are two types of e-wallets:
A single-purpose e-wallet can only be used to pay for goods and services provided by its issuer. For example, a prepaid telephone card from your service provider.
A multi-purpose e-wallet can be used for the purchase of goods and services provided by its issuer as well as other parties. You can use the EZ-Link card, NETS FlashPay and concession cards for public transport. They can also be used for payments at selected retail stores.
Are e-wallets regulated?
MAS regulates e-wallet service providers and e-money issuers. An e-wallet is a payment account that stores e-money. E-money refers to the value stored in your e-wallet.
Larger e-money issuers (major payment institutions) are required to protect the value of your e-money. That means that if the e-money issuer’s business fails, you should be able to recover your money. Smaller e-money issuers (standard payment institutions) are not required to protect the value of your e-money, but they must inform you of this. You can check the financial institution directory at this link to check on the licensing status of the payment service provider.
Before using e-wallets
Make sure you understand the terms and conditions. We have set out below some things you should consider before using any e-wallet. Ask about the:
- Refund and replacement procedures — fees may apply
- Expiry dates
- Load limit (the maximum value that the e-wallet can store at any one time)
- Transaction limit (the maximum amount you can transfer from the e-wallet)
- Minimum transaction and deposit requirements (to avoid extra fees)
- Top-up fees and other services
NoteDo not store large amounts of money in your e-wallet in case you lose it or the issuer gets into financial difficulties.
How to resolve a problem
MAS expects e-wallet service providers to have proper resolution channels and resources to deal with disputes. You should contact the issuer directly if there is a problem.
Guide to banking products and services
Understanding bank accounts Understanding cheques Understanding debit cards Guide to Fast And Secure Transfers (FAST) Guide to GIRO Understanding money-changing Payment options, transfers and banking modes Understanding overdrafts Understanding money transfers Understanding e-wallets Understanding deposit insurance Understanding online banking security