4 tips to stay safe when using e-payments


18 Jul 2019 | 3 min. read

Electronic payments, commonly known as e-payments, refer to cashless transactions made via electronic mediums. These transactions are completed as simply and quickly as by just tapping a card or device, or using an app, saving time for both consumers and businesses.

Common e-payment methods today

E-payment is common in Singapore today. You can use it for dining, shopping in a brick-and-mortar store or online, and for transport. It can also be used to gift or pay others.

With the wide range of e-payment choices available, do you know what you are signing up for and how you can protect yourself from unauthorised transactions?

Here are some common e-payment methods and safety tips:

E-payment method Tips to stay safe

Debit/Credit Cards – The traditional e-payment method we are most familiar with.

You can hand over your physical debit or credit cards to pay at the supermarket or a restaurant. You can store your debit or credit card details on your phone to pay for your transport fare. Or you can also pay by keying in using your debit or credit card when checking out your online shopping.

While these cards are typically issued by banks, some other non-bank players like Grab and Singlife have started issuing debit cards.

  • Set and turn on notifications for your transactions.
    • You should turn on SMS, email, or mobile push notifications for your transactions so that you would be alerted to unauthorised transactions promptly. (You can do so via Internet banking.)
    • You can choose the transaction value that would trigger a notification - it can be as low as 1 cent.
  • Never reveal your OTPs!
    • OTPs, or One-Time Passwords, are a way to authenticate transactions. You should safeguard OTPs just as you keep your ATM PIN secret. Never share it with anyone, not even your bank.


E-wallets – If you have to top up a card or an account before you can use it, you are using an e-wallet.

Some examples of e-wallets are: EZ-Link cards, which are used to pay for train rides; PayLah!, which can be used to transfer funds to your peers; or GrabPay, which you can use to pay in stores.

When you make payment, money is deducted from the amount you have loaded into the account.

  • Top up only the amount you need.
    • If you are using an e-wallet with a physical card, such as EZ-Link, your money is gone if you lose your card.
    • Some e-wallets do not come with physical cards. Instead, the e-wallet is only on your mobile phone. If you lose your phone and it is not secured, you e-wallets ay be exposed to fraudulent transactions.
  • Check refund terms beforehand.
    • Not all service providers allow your money to be refunded to you.

SGQR – A single QR code that combines multiple e-payment solutions, allowing you to use various e-payment service providers to scan one unified SGQR code to make payment.

Many e-wallets, such as GrabPay, and other payment methods, such as PayNow, are integrated with SGQR today.

  • Turn on authentication by Face ID/passcode when making payment on all your payment apps.
    • SGQR allows you to make payment using multiple payment apps and e-wallets. If your phone is stolen, all SGQE-enabled payment apps can be used for payments at many merchants if you do not turn on authentication by Face ID/passcode.


How do I ensure my money and accounts are kept safe when using e-payments?

In general, looking after your money in e-payment accounts begins with practicing good cyber hygiene. Much like how you wouldn't leave cash lying around in plain sight, it is important to take measures to ensure the money in your e-payment accounts does not make for easy pickings.

Here are some good cyber hygiene practices:

You can lower the transaction value that triggers a notification to be sent to you. This will allow you to detect unauthorised transactions even if they are of low value. Taking measures to ensure your accounts are as safe as possible could also help limit your liability in the event of unauthorised transactions.

What should I do if I detect unauthorised transactions on my account?

You should report any unauthorised transactions to your bank or payment service provider as soon as possible and provide as much information as you can on any unauthorised transaction within a reasonable time. Your bank or payment service provider may also ask you to file a police report to facilitate the investigation process.

Last updated on 27 Sep 2021