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FIRST More generous employers

With today’s workplace flexibility, circumventing the traditional 9-5 has never been easier. The Ministry of Manpower’s Conditions of Employment Survey 2016 reveals that the proportion of employees working in establishments with adhoc flexible work arrangements (FWAs) increased from 76% in 2015 to 82% in 2016. Similarly, the percentage of firms providing unplanned timeoff or ad-hoc tele-working for their staff to attend to personal matters improved from 70% previously to 77% in 2016. Of the various arrangements, part-time work (35%) remained the most prevalent formal FWA, followed by flexi-time or staggered hours (23%). Meanwhile, unplanned time-off (75%) was more common than tele-working (21%) amongst ad-hoc FWAs. Beyond what’s required According to MOM’s report on the survey findings, more employers were going beyond statutory requirements to provide various leave benefits to help employees cope with personal and family commitments. “Employers were more generous in providing compassionate leave (92%), marriage leave (74%), and study/ examination leave (40%),” says MOM. Meanwhile, resignation rates were lower amongst companies that: (i) offer a larger number of formal flexible work arrangements to their employees; (ii) have a higher proportion of full-time employees on a fiveday work-week; and (iii) have a higher proportion of full-time employees with longer annual leave entitlement. A total of 3,800 establishments employing 1,335,100 employees responded to the survey conducted by MOM’s Manpower Research and Statistics Department. 8 SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW JANUARY 2017

N E M I SPEC xxx has been an increasing demand for mobile wallets There

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t seemed awkward at first, as J.D. Power director Gordon Shields recalls it, having to pay using his phone at a supermarket. The checkout assistant confusingly shouted “Apple Pie, Apple Pie” across the store when Shields tried to use the mobile app Apple Pay. Launched in May by Apple and followed in June by Samsung and Android, mobile wallets have been adopted by 1 in 4 Singaporeans but 1 in 3 millennials. Shields says, “As consumers like to have greater transparency over their accounts and prefer quicker access and control, without going through certain hurdles with OTPs or hard tokens, mobile wallets offer a good solution. However, the barriers to usage are multifold, including acceptance level across merchants, perception of fraud or misuse by cardholders, as well as the simple awkwardness for some users when trying the service for the first time.” Contactless payments using mobile phones in Singapore have gained popularity only in 2016 with more than 30,000 retail points enabling payment through apps such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay. “We expect overall usage to increase, as people move more to having their cards and loyalty programmes on the smartphone rather than in the physical wallet,” he explains.

We expect overall usage to increase, as people move more to having their cards and loyalty programmes on the smartphone rather than in the physical wallet.

A certain way to gauge how fast mobile wallet will gain more traction is by looking at how banks embrace the innovation. OCBC Bank says it has seen over 35% growth in contactless payments for the past year. “It was an easy decision to embrace digital wallets as we want to make this convenient payment method available to as many OCBC customers as possible,” says OCBC lifestyle financing group head Desmond Tan. Ease of adoption For Usman Khalid, Standard Chartered Singapore’s payments head, mobile wallets dissolve friction from payments. “Customers have strongly embraced these platforms as part of their lifestyles, with our customer engagement metrics showing a positive increase. We are also seeing significant growth in customers’ overall contactless spends,” he notes. Meanwhile, Maybank Singapore community financial services head Choong Wai Hong explains, “The mobile wallet is also safe to carry and use. Whilst some consumers may forget to bring their cards or wallets when leaving home, they rarely forget their mobile phones.” Some banks have gone so far as creating contactless ATMs. UOB, aside from launching Asia Pacific’s first contactless payment option via its UOB Mighty app, has promised to roll out 60 contactless ATMs around the city-state by January 2017. It eyes to replace all of its 634 ATMs with NFC-enabled ones by the end of 2018. UOB head for personal financial services Dennis Khoo says the bank even worked with partners to introduce contactless mobile payments at all local MRT stations.

Mobile digital wallets off to a promising start

Source: J.D. Power


Singapore Business Review (December 2016 - January 2017)