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We and the digital economy



Grab, Carousell, Shopee, the list goes on. We live in a digital era where technology empowers our everyday lives. Financial technologies are amongst the largest of Singapore’s assets, and this growing tide of change will stir much change in the future; some of which are already being felt. As consumers, how can we better navigate through this period of increased change?


The size of the Fintech scene in Singapore.


The Global FinTech City Index ranked Singapore 4th in the world, just behind New York, London, and Hong Kong. Singapore’s FinTech market had also experienced a large spike in investments despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with $650 Million dollars worth of funds raised. Singapore is set to be a prime hub for greater FinTech innovation and growth.


Why does it matter to me?


FinTech is not new to Singapore, but we are definitely going to see an escalation in the development and greater widespread adoption of FinTech technologies here. Remember the time when Grab only simply provided private-hire services? Now they even provide food delivery, insurance, and investments? We need to better prepare ourselves, especially with the government’s recent injection of more than S$500 million from the fortitude budget earlier this year to give a boost to businesses to go digital.


With this in mind and the flurry of options we are experiencing, it is crucial that we prepare ourselves by building good foundations for ourselves. There are different apps, services, or products that are best suited for our respective needs and wants. But with more FinTech solutions emerging, are we certain of what we really want?


As consumers, we are swarmed with temptations to spend more. Advertisements plastered on every street corner and strung all over the internet. The government is preparing businesses to go digital, but we as consumers must find a way to prepare ourselves for the changes to come.


What changes are we going to see? And what can we do?


1. Cashless trends at F&B outlets (as covered in this previous article).


Local food places such as The Yuhua Food Village and Yishun Park Hawker Centre have been using digital payments such as the Tuck Shop app since 2017 and have seen consistent adoption rates among residents in the area. With the introduction of the SGQR, it reduces the need for drawing cash.


Taking reference from our previous article on the cashless trend, there are advantages to using cashless payments! Not only does it create a more seamless experience, but cash backs are also given directly back to you as the consumer. In this period of time, we should try to get a hang of using these new payment platforms once they become the norm here. You’d never know when we’ll stop using physical notes in the near future.


Meanwhile, if you’re a business owner, or planning to start your own business. Do check out the latest trends and tech that are available! Things are not the same as they were before, and make sure you captialise on the available funding or technologies to incorporate with your business.


2. Growth of E-commerce and healthy spending habits.


E-commerce has reduced friction when it comes to making purchases online. With so many different merchants or service providers, it is crucial that we invest some time researching the products we want to buy! We live in an age with an abundance of information, making a simple comparison can help you to save more!


If you’re a regular consumer of a particular product, do your due diligence and search for better alternatives! With more companies or listings now being available on the web, we can now compare even more choices to make better-informed choices. Keep a look-out for applications that can help empower you to make better purchase decisions? Ever heard of pricekaki?


Keep a tab on your spending and be sure to routinely adjust your budget as well. You might want to check out our beginner’s guide to financial literacy here.


3. The constant need to keep ourselves up to date.


We are creating ‘digital ready natives’. The present-day FinTech instruments are changing. It seems that instead of technology complementing financial systems, it is the other way around instead. We are in a time where technology then incorporates financial systems within (think of mobile games which gradually implement microtransactions within them).


From FinTech to TechFin. The lines are getting increasingly blurred, and our future generations must be equipped with the right habits, careful discipline, and sound conceptualisation of the instruments they are using. We have to ensure that future generations have longer-term considerations within their decision-making process. It is a different time now, why not we start our change today?


Conclusion


Looking back, we have come a long way in the past few years with the advent of FinTech within Singapore. But as things become more convoluted, we have to start thinking about what can do better today, tomorrow, and in the future. This article is not a definitive guide to what we should do, but I hope it sheds some light on things we may have looked-past in our busy schedules.


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