Do You Need Cash in Singapore? Exploring the Cashless Trend and Cash Necessities

Singapore, a thriving metropolis known for its cutting-edge technology and modern infrastructure, has become a global leader in cashless payments.

With an intricate web of digital transactions, credit card swipes, and e-wallet transfers, it’s easy to assume that physical cash is obsolete in this financial hub. While this assumption isn’t entirely wrong, there are still scenarios where cold hard cash remains necessary.

In this article, we’ll delve into the state of cashless payments in Singapore, identify places where money is still preferred, and provide guidance on obtaining cash when needed.

The State of Cashless Payments in Singapore

In a recent survey conducted in 2023 by Statista, the adoption rate of cashless payments in Singapore stands impressively at 97%. This astounding figure illustrates the seamless integration of digital payment methods within the fabric of the city-state.

Credit cards, debit cards, and e-wallets lead the pack, serving as the triumvirate of modern transactions. Credit cards, renowned for their universal acceptance, find their way into almost every business and establishment. Debit cards, while slightly more selective, are still widely embraced.

Notably, the rise of e-wallets is undeniable, with businesses incentivizing customers to opt for this electronic alternative through attractive discounts.

The surge in popularity of cashless payments can be attributed to a combination of factors. The paramount convenience and efficiency of swiping a card or tapping a phone have significantly reduced the reliance on cash.

Additionally, the enhanced security of digital transactions has eased concerns about losing physical currency or falling victim to theft.

Also read: Are there pickpockets in Singapore?

Do You Need Cash in Singapore

Places in Singapore Where You Still Need Cash

Yet, despite the staggering acceptance rate of cashless payments, Singapore still harbors pockets where tangible currency remains crucial. These locales include:

Hawker Centers and Food Courts: 

These bustling culinary havens are integral to Singapore’s culture, offering an array of delectable dishes. Surprisingly, many of these establishments have yet to embrace cashless methods, necessitating cash for a satisfying meal.

Small Convenience Stores: 

While Singapore is known for its technological advancements, smaller convenience stores often need to catch up. Limited by infrastructure and financial considerations, these stores must rely more on traditional cash transactions.


Taxis are a convenient way to navigate Singapore’s urban expanse. While credit cards are accepted, it’s important to note that a 10% surcharge is levied for the privilege. This surcharge encourages cash payments and highlights the nuanced dynamics of Singapore’s cashless landscape.

Some Tourist Attractions: 

Cash remains king even amidst the splendor of Singapore’s renowned tourist attractions, such as the Singapore Zoo and Gardens by the Bay. Some of these attractions have yet to adopt the seamless world of cashless transactions, necessitating visitors to have cash.

How to Get Cash If You Need It in Singapore

Considering these residual cash-based necessities, it’s prudent for Singapore visitors to prepare for digital and physical transactions. When the need for cash arises, there are several accessible methods:

Use an ATM: 

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are peppered throughout Singapore’s urban tapestry, offering a convenient means to withdraw cash. Most of these ATMs are compatible with foreign cards, ensuring ease of access for travelers.

Currency Exchange Bureaus: 

Should you require cash in a specific currency, currency exchange bureaus are a reliable option. These establishments, widespread throughout Singapore, typically offer competitive exchange rates, often surpassing those traditional banks provide.

Hotel or Hostel Assistance: 

Many accommodations in Singapore extend the courtesy of currency exchange for their guests. Enquire at your hotel’s or hostel’s front desk to explore this option, potentially saving time and effort.


In a digital age where electronic transactions reign supreme, Singapore is a pinnacle of cashless payments, with a staggering 97% adoption rate. The triumvirate of credit cards, debit cards, and e-wallets seamlessly facilitates the flow of commerce in this modern metropolis.

Yet, the evolution toward a cashless society has partially eradicated the need for physical currency. Hawker centers, small convenience stores, taxis, and select tourist attractions remain tethered to cash transactions.

As you plan your venture into the heart of Singapore, consider the dynamic landscape of transactions. An informed traveler should carry digital payment methods and a modest sum of cash.

Embrace digital convenience where possible, but heed the necessity of money for those charming hawker center feasts and unexpected encounters.

Singapore, the epitome of advancement, reminds us that a balanced transaction approach can ensure a seamless journey through its captivating urban tapestry.


1. Is it true that most businesses in Singapore accept cashless payments?

Yes, indeed. According to a survey conducted in 2023, the adoption rate of cashless payments in Singapore is an impressive 97%. This means that most businesses and merchants in Singapore accept digital payment methods such as credit cards, debit cards, and e-wallets. This high acceptance rate reflects the country’s advanced technological infrastructure and the convenience of cashless transactions.

2. Are there any additional fees associated with using credit cards in taxis?

Yes, there is a notable point to remember when using credit cards for taxi fares in Singapore. While taxis accept credit card payments, a surcharge of 10% is typically applied to the food when paying with a credit card. This practice is meant to incentivize cash payments and cover the processing fees associated with credit card transactions. Therefore, if you plan to use taxis frequently, having some cash on hand might be more cost-effective.

3. Can I use my foreign debit or credit card to withdraw cash from ATMs in Singapore?

Absolutely. Singapore boasts a well-connected network of ATMs scattered throughout the city. Most ATMs are compatible with foreign debit and credit cards, allowing travelers to withdraw cash in the local currency conveniently. Remember that while this is a viable option, checking with your bank before traveling to Singapore is recommended to ensure your card will work seamlessly with the local ATMs and to inquire about any potential foreign transaction fees.

4. Are there any specific tourist attractions that only accept cash?

Yes, a few notable tourist attractions in Singapore primarily rely on cash transactions. For instance, places like the Singapore Zoo and Gardens by the Bay may have yet to embrace cashless payments fully. This means that when visiting these attractions, having cash will ensure you can easily purchase tickets, food, and souvenirs without inconvenience.

5. Can I exchange foreign currency for Singaporean dollars at the airport?

Yes, Singapore’s Changi Airport offers currency exchange services for travelers from around the world. However, keep in mind that exchange rates at the airport might not be as favorable as those offered by dedicated currency exchange bureaus located within the city. It’s a good idea to compare exchange rates between the airport and other currency exchange locations to get the best value for your money.

Hello, fellow wanderers and globetrotters! I’m Alina Chiam, the face and spirit behind, your passport to exciting destinations, hidden gems, and unforgettable journeys.

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