Singapore Fintech Festival

Crypto-linked credit cards and personalised carbon insights: 4 highlights from Day 1 of Singapore FinTech Festival

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat delivering his opening address at the Singapore FinTech Festival x Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology on Nov 8, 2021.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat delivering his opening address at the Singapore FinTech Festival x Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology on Nov 8, 2021.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION, SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Crypto-linked payment cards and a personalised carbon insights tool were among several initiatives announced on Monday (Nov 8), the first day of the week-long Singapore FinTech Festival.

The annual festival is organised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and non-profit organisation Elevandi.

It provides a global platform for the financial technology community - including fintech players, policymakers and investors - to network and discuss key issues in the industry.

The flagship fintech event is in its sixth edition, and this year's spotlight is on the impact of Web 3.0, which involves the use of distributed ledger technology on financial services.

Distributed ledger technology is a decentralised digital system for recording transactions of assets. It is used for purposes such as cryptocurrency trading and supply chain verification.

The Straits Times highlights four partnerships and products that were unveiled at the virtual festival on Monday.

1. Crypto-linked payment cards

Consumers and businesses in the Asia-Pacific region will soon be able to apply for crypto-linked Mastercard credit, debit or pre-paid cards that will enable them to instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into traditional fiat currency.

The money can be spent everywhere Mastercard is accepted around the world, both online and offline.

The service is made possible through a partnership between the payments giant and three digital asset service providers which will launch the crypto-funded Mastercard payment cards, said Mastercard, without giving details as to when.

Hong Kong-based Amber Group, Thailand's Bitkub, and CoinJar in Australia are the first Asia-Pacific-based cryptocurrency platforms to join Mastercard's global crypto card programme, which aims to make it simpler and faster for crypto firms to bring such payment cards to market.

2. Alipay+ joins the Nets network

Merchants here will have one more tool in their arsenal to accept mobile payments from inbound visitors from early next year, with the integration of Alipay+ into Singapore payments provider Nets' network.

China's Ant Group last year introduced Alipay+ solutions, which aim to make it easier for businesses, especially small and medium-sized ones, to accept various payment methods and conduct digital marketing campaigns, and for e-wallet users to pay when they are away from their home country.

The partnership will allow Nets merchants to accept payments in Singapore dollars from Asia's e-wallet holders, who will pay in their home currency.

Nets group chief executive Lawrence Chan said QR payments have allowed consumers to pay merchants in a fast and cost-efficient way.

"As Singapore progresses to open up the economy eventually, Nets is working with partners to lay the groundwork to connect communities and empower small and medium-sized business owners to transact across borders digitally," he added.

3. Remittance services through Singtel's Dash e-wallet

Users of Singtel's Dash mobile wallet will soon be able to use the platform to send money around the world, under a partnership between Dash and American cross-border payments giant Western Union.

Dash currently allows users to pay in-store and online. The latest service will be introduced in phases, enabling Dash customers here to send money abroad, starting with India, said the company without providing a timeline.

"International migrants working and living in Singapore represent a significant part of the population. This, coupled with the accelerated adoption of digital channels, provides an incredible potential to meet the evolving needs of these individuals as they support their loved ones back home," said Western Union in a statement.

4. Personalised carbon insights

UOB's retail banking customers will soon be able to access personalised carbon insights based on their spending and saving behaviour under the Carbon Insights feature in the lender's Tmrw digital banking platform.

The tool will calculate, track and benchmark a customer's carbon footprint automatically. It can also help customers be more aware of their carbon impact so they can adopt sustainable lifestyles, said UOB.

It is expected to be made available to a select group of UOB customers next year before a broader launch.

UOB chief sustainability officer Eric Lim said: "We believe the confluence of technology and sustainability will continue to pave the way for innovative climate change solutions. There is clear demand from customers to help them take action against climate change - we hear them and are responding accordingly."

Similarly, DBS Bank announced last month that its customers will be able to track their carbon footprint when a new calculator feature on the lender's digital banking app is rolled out by January.