July 6, 2020

The Covid-19 outbreak has prompted Singaporeans to embrace more digital services when taking charge of their finances—and this is a shift that the majority believe will stick post-pandemic, a survey by personal finance website SingSaver found. Conducted in June, the survey analysed 1,000 responses detailing Singaporeans’ biggest challenges with personal finance, changing financial habits and attitudes. 

The inevitable use of digital services during the pandemic has allowed Singaporeans the time to become more at ease with technology. The survey found 70 per cent of respondents across Singapore have used online banking “frequently” since the outbreak of the pandemic, with 65 per cent stating they are “somewhat” or “very” comfortable using these digital tools.

This is especially true for 61 per cent of Singapore’s older population aged 54 and above, who agree they are using online tools frequently. In fact, 69 per cent of respondents in this age group say they are “somewhat” or “very” comfortable with online banking tools—the same percentage as those in the 35-44 age group (69 per cent), and slightly more than those in the 44-54 age group (67 per cent).

And this increased comfort with digital services looks likely to remain beyond the pandemic, as 80 per cent of all Singaporeans agree they will continue with online banking services in the future.

Beyond online banking, this increased adoption has also had a spillover effect, with 70 per cent of respondents saying they are also more likely to purchase groceries and other essentials online even after the pandemic dies down. Interestingly, more than half of respondents (53 per cent) aged 54 and above also agree with this.

The circuit breaker period also gave Singaporeans the push they may have needed to become more financially prudent and take charge of their finances, as 53 per cent said they actively researched different methods and options to save money while stuck at home.

“The pandemic has clearly provided Singaporeans with the impetus and time to gain familiarity and comfort with more online services. It’s interesting to see how this has been the catalyst many needed for adoption, given that the majority intend to keep using these digital tools beyond the pandemic. However, the key to maintaining this adoption and ensuring greater financial health lies in ongoing education. SingSaver aims to bridge this gap by continuing to enable financial literacy with tools and insights that help Singaporeans make informed financial decisions.” said Prashant Aggarwal, interim Country Manager, SingSaver.

When asked about financial planning behaviours due to Covid-19, 33 per cent of the respondents mentioned that they were committed to building and expanding their emergency fund. More Millennials aged 25 to 34 (36 per cent) agreed to this as compared to the other age groups. Additionally, 33 per cent of the respondents cited creating additional streams of income as a key action they took due to COVID-19. In particular, there is a significant proportion of respondents aged 35 to 44 (sandwich generation) who are committed to both building emergency funds (35 per cent) and creating additional income streams (37 per cent).

A large 87 per cent of respondents agree the pandemic has reoriented them to adopt a lower consumption and higher savings habit, while 89 per cent want to be more prudent and intentional about their personal finance due to the pandemic.