Singapore top in Asia for digital life for expats, ranks low for cashless payments: Survey

Office workers at Collyer Quay in Raffles Place. Singapore was ranked eight out of 68 countries in terms of how expats viewed the technological aspects of their lives last year.
Office workers at Collyer Quay in Raffles Place. Singapore was ranked eight out of 68 countries in terms of how expats viewed the technological aspects of their lives last year.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Foreigners working here lead the most digitally connected lives in Asia and reap the most technological benefits when compared to those working in other parts of the region last year, a new survey has found.

But the findings released on Wednesday (May 22) also showed that Singapore lags behind other countries in terms of its cashless payments systems, the ease of getting a local mobile number and unrestricted access to online services.

The first Digital Life Abroad Report by expat community and information site InterNations involved a survey of 18,135 expatriates representing 178 nationalities and living in 187 countries or territories.

Singapore was ranked eight out of 68 countries - the highest in Asia - in terms of how expats viewed the technological aspects of their lives last year.

Top honours went to Estonia, followed by Finland, Norway and Denmark. New Zealand, Israel and Canada were next, in that order.

In a press statement, InterNations said: "Expats in these countries are very satisfied with their unrestricted access to online services and the possibility to pay without cash almost anywhere."

Participants of the survey were asked to rate their satisfaction with five factors: unrestricted access to online services such as social media; the availability of government or administrative services online; the ease of getting a local mobile phone number; the ease of paying without cash; and the ease of getting access to high-speed Internet at home.

 
 
 

Singapore ranked eighth for access to high-speed Internet at home, and second for the availability of government or administrative services online.

But it did not perform as well in the rest.

For cashless payments, Singapore ranked 21st, and it fared even worse for the ease of getting a local number. It was 29th.

It was also 45th for unrestricted access to online services.

The study found that the bottom 10 countries for digital life abroad were Myanmar, China, Egypt, India, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Peru, Turkey and Uganda.

"Expats in these countries struggle with a lack of government services online, difficult access to high-speed Internet at home, or even restrictions in their use of online services," said InterNations.

The Digital Life Abroad Report is an addition to the annually published Expat Insider survey by InterNations.

For a country to be featured in the Expat Insider survey last year, and subsequently in the Digital Life Abroad Report, a sample size of at least 75 survey participants per destination was necessary.