Curiosity might kill the cat, but curiosity about numbers is something BankBazaar thrives on. One of the first questions that come to our mind about Singapore statistics is: How does Singapore use its credit card? With the help of government data, we've put together some insights on credit card usage among Singaporeans.
Credit card growth over the years:
The number of credit cards in Singapore and the total amount spent on the plastic has grown exponentially in the last 2 decades. Letâ€™s look at a few charts that clarify this statement:
As you can see, the number of primary cards in 1995 was over 1 million (1,059,408) for a population of 3.52 million. Supplementary cards at the time numbered 536,408, approximately half of the primary cards. This means that less than 45% of Singaporeans had a credit card.
The number grew by around 322% in 2005, to over 3 million primary cards (3,415,507) and by around 191% to over 1 million supplementary cards (1,026,516). At this time, the islandâ€™s population stood at 4.27 million, and the number of credit cards out-numbered the number of persons in Singapore by around 4%.
In 2014, which is the latest statistics available with the government, there were 8,183,105 primary credit cards (up by 239.5% from 2005) and 1,553,963 supplementary credit cards (151% higher than 2005). The population at this time was 5.47 million, which means that the number of credit cards is 78% higher than the number of people on the island.
Purchases made through credit cards have also increased steadily. In 1995, Singaporeans spent S$6,513 million using credit cards, which increased by 256% to S$16,703.1 million in 2005. In 2014, the amount spent using credit cards rose by 267% compared with the 2005 figure. However, it is noticed that Singaporeans in general do not tend to pile up debt. The amount of credit card balance rolled over to invite interest, has stayed quite low over the years despite showing slight growth year-on-year.
At the same time, the amount of credit card debts written off as bad liability and unrepayable by customers has seen a varying trend over the years. From S$19.8 million in bad debt in 1995, it rose to S$195.9 million in 2004 (up by a whopping 889%), but showed a falling trend for the next 3 years before rising slowly to S$273.9 million in 2014 (a rise of just around 40% from 2008).
With the current population of around 5.6 million and an average gross monthly income of S$3,949 (or annual income of S$47,388), there is a lot of scope for credit card issuers and banks to increase their penetration through unique products and exclusive privileges. With good credit scores and wise money management, customers can even handle 3 to 5 cards per person, giving rise to the possibility of having 16.8 million to 28 million credit cards purely from a statistical point of view.