Credit cards are something we can’t do without in our day to day activities. What we should not do without is missing payments on our card bills. Missing payments and making late payments on the bills incur additional fees, charges and penalties with Credit Cards. However, all banks in Singapore today have made credit card payments completely simple and hassle free by providing an array of bill payment options so we do not miss out on payments. Payments through Online Banking, Phone Banking, SMS, cheques, cash etc. are some convenient ways of making payments among others. Most banks in Singapore offer you the convenience of choosing from multiple modes of bill payment for your card.
While some of them offer instant bill settlement facility, payments made through others can only be processed in 2-3 business days. Always maintain a comfortable time cushion to ensure that you don’t miss out on timely payments.
Ways to Pay Credit Card Bills
The following are the common ways in which card bills can be settled in Singapore:
- AXS Stations- Payment through AXS terminals are extremely convenient and fast. Settlement of payments made through AXS is usually done by the next business day. The service is provided free of cost. AXS physical stations are conveniently located across Singapore. You may also use AXS e-stations or m-stations to pay your card bills. You can access the online services anytime during the day and from anywhere. More than 80 billing organisations are linked to this system. All major banks in Singapore list AXS as a bill payment option for their credit cards. Simply follow the onscreen instructions, insert your card, key in the amount, confirm it and your payment is done.
- iNETS Kiosks- These kiosks are conveniently located across the country. Simply register yourself to start paying your card bills via these terminals. This payment channel is considered to be extremely fast and safe. This service is available free of cost. Almost all card issuers in Singapore have iNETS as a payment option. Settlement of payment is almost instantaneous when you choose iNETS. Using this self-service payment terminal is extremely easy. Simply follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process. You may also use it for buying tickets, paying for government services, and also buying insurance products.
- SingPost SAM- SAM kiosks are available across multiple channels - physical, web, and mobile. Choose any mode that’s convenient to you and use it to pay your card bills. To reward you for your association, SAM also offers LinkPoints on eligible transactions. For every S$50 you spend in a single transaction, you can earn 1 point. SAM kiosks are located throughout the island. Simply follow the onscreen instructions to complete your card payment. Most top banks in Singapore offer this payment option. It is a free service. Check with your bank to know more about the processing time of this payment mode.
- ATM machines- Paying your card bills via ATM is a safe and moderately fast process. You’ll find this as one of the card payment options with most banks. You’ll need to insert your card in the slot, follow the onscreen instructions, enter the card number and the bill payment amount, and confirm the details. Most banks can settle card payment made via an ATM within one business day. It is a free service. You may be able to locate the nearest ATM of the relevant bank from the bank’s website.
- Phone banking- Most banks in Singapore offer phone banking as a credit card bill payment option. All you need to do is call the 24x7 hotline, follow the IVR instructions, and complete the payment. To register for this service, you can download the relevant form from the bank’s website, fill it up, and mail it to the bank. Alternatively, you may complete the process online using your personal banking credentials. You’ll, however, have to be a savings/current account owner or you have to be registered for online banking. This service is usually free. 1 to 3 business days may be required for settlement of your bill.
- Interbank GIRO- It is an extremely convenient mode of bill payment. All you need to do is register for this service by downloading the relevant form, completing it and mailing it to the bank for processing. All major banks provide this card payment option. Once you set up a standing instruction, you won’t have to worry about paying card bills every month. Following your direction, the bank will automatically debit the predetermined amount from your savings account and use it to clear the outstanding card balance. You’re expected to maintain sufficient funds in your account at least one business day before the settlement date. The process is free and fast. It may usually take up to 14 days for activation of this payment mode.
- Crossed cheque- You may also pay your card bill by issuing a cheque to the card issuer. You’ll have to fill in the relevant details, cross the cheque, add your card account details, and drop it in the cheque dropbox of the card-issuing bank. If you’re paying bills for multiple card accounts, simply add the account numbers and other relevant details separately on the back of the cheque. Most banks may take 2-3 business days to process the payment. While banks may not charge you for paying via cheque, they may charge a fee for issuing a cheque book.
- Mobile banking- Most banks have their own apps through which you can complete different types of transactions. Paying card bills is usually one of the services offered. Simply download the app, use your bank credentials to create an account, and you’re set for making payments. It is a secure mode of payment since an OTP is generated every time you make a transaction. A transaction can only be completed if you enter the OTP sent to the registered mobile number. The service is free and the settlement is usually instantaneous. The mobile app for most banks are available on the App Store and Google Play.
- FAST funds transfer- It is an instantaneous process. You’ll have to link your card to a savings account you hold with another bank or the same bank. You can then follow the instructions to instantly transfer money from a savings account to your card account for clearance of any outstanding balance. Once you log in to your personal banking portal, you’ll have to select the option of funds transfer, add the card you’re paying for to the payee list, and initiate the process of payment. Select the FAST option for making payments. The service is usually free.
- Post office branches- Some of the card issuers in Singapore also offer you the option of payment at a post office. You can visit your bank’s website or the SingPost website to find the branches nearest to you. You can either pay through CashCard or a NETS card. The service is free. Check with a post office branch or your bank to find out the time needed for processing the payment.
- Internet/online banking- If you hold a chequing account with the bank which has issued you a card, you’ll usually have a personal internet banking account. Otherwise, check with the bank to know more about the registration process. Once you enter the account with your credentials, you’ll find a list of bill payment options. Choose the credit card bill payment option, follow the instructions, and complete the payment. Money will be debited from the linked savings account directly. The service is free and the processing is usually instantaneous. Some banks also allow you to schedule a payment in advance. You can also choose the amount you want to pay.
- Bulk cash deposit machines- If the nearest branch of your card issuing bank has a bulk cash deposit machine, you may be able to use it to settle your card bill. Some banks may, however, have a daily cash deposit limit. They may also have a limit on the number of separate bills you can deposit per transaction. Check with the respective bank’s website to know more. The service is free and up to 2-3 business days may be needed for settlement of your card bill.
- 7-Eleven stores (for some banks like HSBC)- Some banks in Singapore have partnered up with 7-Eleven, a multinational convenience-store chain, to provide their customers an additional bill payment option. You can walk into any 7-Eleven store, hand over the card number to the cashier, and instruct him to settle your card bill. You can choose to pay through NETS, cash or a CashCard. The service is usually available round the clock. There is usually no maximum payment limit. There could be a lower limit on bill payment, though. The service is free. Check with your bank to find out the time necessary for settlement of your bill.
- Payment made in cash at a branch of the bank- Walk into the nearest branch of your bank and settle your outstanding card bill at the teller counter. Check with the bank to locate the branches where this facility is available. The settlement time may vary between 1 and 3 business days, or may even take longer, depending on the bank. The service is free. Check with your bank to see whether you need to carry your last card statement and/or any identity proof. You may choose to pay the full outstanding due or the minimum amount.
Advantages of Paying Credit Card Bills Online
- Convenience: Online banking or internet banking is available 24/7. This allows you to spend more time on your everyday activities and less time on banking. You can skip standing in queues and going to the bank physically during their operating hours and perform an array of banking services with a few simple clicks online.
- Ease and simple steps: There is no requirement for you to take physical forms, fill it up and then submit it to the bank. All the process is paperless and online when you just need to fill in certain details and submit it. When online, you only need to key in minimum details and make payments on your credit card bills, open RDs/FDs and so on.
- Enhanced Security: All banks that offer online banking in Singapore are highly secure and guarantee the safety of your account information and money. They also guarantee safety on all your online transactions and cover any loss or damage in case of fraudulent activity on your account.
- No additional charges: Online banking is offered absolutely free of cost by all banks in Singapore. There is no fee charged for this service and at the same time offers a multitude of features and benefits that make banking extremely convenient and simple.
Ways to Pay Recurring Bills Through Credit Cards
- Many banks in Singapore allow you to set up automatic payment of your recurring bills and charge them to your card by:
- Downloading a consent form from the bank’s website.
- Filling it out and mailing/faxing the form back to the bank.
- The bank will process and approve your application, subject to approval of the billing organisation.
- Consolidate different utility/recurring bills and pay only once.
- Find the list of the participating organisations on the respective bank’s website.
- If your card is cancelled or you want to terminate the plan, get in touch with the billing organisation to set up an alternative payment arrangement.
Things to Keep in Mind About Credit Card Bill Payments
- In order to avoid additional charges such as late payment fees, pay at least the minimum monthly amount by the due date.
- Try to, however, pay more than the minimum due every month. This will help you avoid picking up month-to-month debt and high interest payments.
- Ensure that you’re paying your monthly bill by the due date.
- Don’t max out your card. Try to stay well within the credit limit of your card. Ideally, you shouldn’t be using more than 30% of the limit of a card per month.
- Consider setting up an automatic bill payment arrangement if you’re having problems with paying your card bill on time.
- Continue to track your monthly bills. Your lender may charge miscellaneous charges that you aren’t aware of. There could also be accounting errors. Most banks usually have a small window, after the generation of the bill, within which the bank should be notified of the error. Also, it will help you manage your expenses better.
- Don’t use too many cards. It can not only induce overspending but also increase risks of payment defaults. However, keep some of your old accounts active because length of a card account is an important contributor to your credit score.
- Before choosing a payment mode, make sure that you know the exact processing time. Depending on that, you need to make the payment so that you don’t end up making late payments.
- Factor in weekends and public holidays when making payments. If the usual processing time for a mode is 3 days but there is a public holiday between the day you make your payment and the due date, you’ll have to make the payment at least four days before the due date.
- Even when you’re overseas, don’t miss out on payments. Use online payment modes like FAST, online banking, mobile banking, or interbank GIRO to avoid missing out on payments. Check with the bank for additional service fees/charges when making payments from outside Singapore.
- When making payments through cheques, make sure that your cheque doesn’t bounce under any circumstance. If a cheque issued by you is dishonoured due to insufficient payments, your bank may levy two types of fees. One is the administrative fee. The other is an incidental overdraft interest. Once the cheque is cleared, the decision to honour or dishonour the cheque is taken on the next business day. If the cheque is returned, the extra interest will be charged since the bank had paid an overnight interest on the cheque the previous night. In addition, it may severely affect your credit score. The bank may even initiate legal proceedings.
- Most banks may not allow you to pay for one credit card using another. However, you can draw money from your card account using a cash advance facility or requesting your bank to issue a convenience cheque, as long as the total permissible credit limit isn’t exceeded. You’re, however, recommended to avoid this practice because in addition to additional fees, you’ll have to pay higher interest rates, thereby increasing your overall cost of borrowing. It may even affect your credit score. If you have, however, notched up a big debt on your card or cards, you can transfer the outstanding balances to a new card with a lower interest rate. This way, you’ll have access to higher credit limit and save on interests and penalty charges.
- If you miss payments or don’t pay your bills in full, you may end up utilising a higher percentage of your credit limit. That means, the effective credit available to you would decrease. Also, if you activate a purchase instalment plan, you would see a decrease in your credit limit. You’ll have to make payments until the full due has been repaid, in order to replenish your credit limit.
- Payments made towards your credit card outstanding balance is usually settled in the following order of priority:
- Interest charges
- Late charges
- Annual card membership fees
- Cash advances
- Funds transfer or balance transfer
- Any other due
Keeping this order in mind will help you compute your charges and dues, in case you’re not making payments in full.
Keeping your card secure is solely your responsibility. Most banks have set up secure payment processes and redressal mechanisms in case the security of your card is breached but ultimately, you’ll have to make sure that you follow the best practices of card payment and usage.
The liability for unauthorised transactions will be limited to S$100 only if it is proven that you weren’t negligent or part of the fraud that led to the security violation.
To avoid any potential security breach, follow the instructions listed below:
- Online payments/ATMs/Mobile payments/phone banking: While making payments electronically is generally considered to be safe, security could be easily compromised if passwords and usernames are not protected properly. Don’t share it with anyone, even your friends and family. Don’t share it with even the joint account holders. Don’t let anyone use the account login credentials to pay bills on your behalf.zxs
- Standing instructions: If you have set up a standing instruction for auto debit in order to pay your utility bills or instalment payments for a purchase you have made, it is your responsibility to inform the bank, the merchant or any other stakeholder, if you terminate the arrangement, cancel your card, or the bank terminates it. You’ll also have to set up an alternative mode of payment, after discussing the matter with the merchant. If you want to remove an account you were using for making payments or utility bills, and want to link another card, inform the bank as well as the merchant. Not informing the merchant may lead to security issues.
- Keep your antivirus and other security software up to date: If you’re someone who uses your phone or personal computer to make card bill payments, ensure that you follow the correct security protocols and use the latest software available in the market. Often hackers look for soft targets and as soon as they find an opening, they may easily get access to your most sensitive banking details and misuse them.
- Don’t use unsecure networks: Never pay bills or complete other financial transactions when connected to unsecured networks or public Wi-Fi. The chances of a security breach increases manifold.
- Scan your statement for billing errors: Don’t stop reviewing your card statement simply because you have set up an auto-debit arrangement. If an authorised transaction has been charged to your account, you need to be in a position to identify it and challenge it. Also, most banks have a deadline within which any unauthorised transaction or other billing inaccuracies can be challenged. Find out more about it from the bank and be prepared to file a report accordingly.
Bill Payments and Credit Score
Even though banks allow you to make a minimum monthly payment on your outstanding balances and revolve the credit, it is recommended that you pay the bill in full. Letting your outstanding balance grow would lead to higher borrowing costs in the long run, penalty charges, and additional fees.
If you fail to make even the minimum payment repeatedly, the bank may terminate your account and initiate legal proceedings to realise their dues.
Making only the minimum monthly payments, missing payments, or making late payments can affect your credit score significantly. The rating agencies and the lenders start to view you as a risky customer, with a higher default risk.
This may make you a less attractive client to banks, who may either reject your application, or levy higher interests and charges. Some of the facilities like balance transfer and debt consolidation may not be extended to you.
Paying card bills in full will also help you keep your total credit utilisation at a manageable level and thus prevent a negative impact on your credit score.
A lower credit score will not only affect your ability to get credit cards in the future but also affect your chances of getting other forms of credit such as home loans, car loans, and personal loans.
To know your current credit score, you can download a report from the official CBS website or collect it from one of the authorised centres for a token fee of S$6.42. Call the CBS hotline for further assistance.
Also, most banks may withdraw the grace period they extend on bill payments. That means, instead of getting 20-25 days for paying your card bill (check with your bank for the specifics), the outstanding amount will have to be cleared as soon as the statement for that month is generated. Missing your payment by even one day will attract late payment charges and higher interest costs. Interests are calculated on a daily basis. So, you may see a significantly higher outstanding balance in the next statement cycle.
Furthermore, some lenders may even review the credit limit on your card and reduce it. This will increase your credit utilisation ratio, which in turn will affect your credit score. If you have withdrawn cash or overdrawn on your credit limit, you need to pay down the bill in full because the interests and fees levied on these features are even higher.