Parliamentary Replies
Published Date: 12 January 2001

Reply to Parliamentary Question on the implementation of 'cash-back' systems

Issues Raised in Parliament

Reply to Parliamentary Question on the implementation of 'cash-back' systems

Date: For Parliamentary Sitting on 12 Jan 2001

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he is prepared to allow a "cash-back" system to operate in Singapore whereby customers in supermarkets can withdraw cash from the check-out counters, as like that in the UK.


Cash withdrawals at point of sale, or "cash-back" schemes, are readily available in supermarkets and other retail stores in the UK, US and Australia. These are commercial arrangements between banks and retailers. Retailers who receive large amounts of cash benefit, as "cash-back" allows them to reduce their cash handling. Banks benefit as this means fewer cash withdrawal transactions at ATMs, a service which is costly to provide. Consumers will also gain from the convenience and choice of accessing cash-withdrawal services at these new cash-points, especially in locations further away from any bank branches or ATMs.

2. MAS has decided that it has no regulatory objections to "cash-back" schemes. Banks and retailers are free to implement "cash-back" schemes using their Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sales (EFTPOS) and Cash-card systems. It is up to the banks and retailers to institute operational procedures, security measures, and appropriate cash withdrawal limits.

3. I hope that retailers like NTUC Fairprice, petrol stations and convenience stores will take this opportunity to provide better service to their customers, and make cash withdrawal facilities more widely available. This will be especially helpful to lower income Singaporeans whose monthly salaries are credited to their bank accounts by employers, and whose main need is to make regular cash withdrawals in small amounts for their daily expenses.