Reply to Parliamentary Question on Licensed Payment Institutions Issuing Credit and Debit Cards to Singaporeans Below 16 Years of Age
QUESTION NO 1051
NOTICE PAPER 650 OF 2021
FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 13 September 2021
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Don Wee, MP, Chua Chu Kang GRC
To ask the Prime Minister whether MAS has any plan to increase measures for licensed payment institutions that issue credit/debit cards to Singaporeans younger than 16 years of age as there is a risk of children utilising the card details to shop for unsavoury items or subscribe to dubious websites.
Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:
1 There are broadly three types of payment cards – credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards, which may be issued by banks, non-bank credit card issuers (such as American Express and Diners Club), as well as licensed payment institutions. Examples of prepaid cards are ez-link cards, NETS FlashPay cards, and Singtel Dash, which is an e-money wallet.
2 Generally, as a matter of commercial practice by banks and other credit card issuers, those under 16 years of age do not have access to credit or debit cards, and applications can only be made for them to have prepaid cards. However, to use a prepaid card, they would still need to be able to fund the card using money transferred from a bank account, credit card, or physical cash top-up in a store.
3 Prepaid cards, being a type of e-money wallet, have a maximum funding limit. Different card issuers can provide useful features for parents such as providing access to their children’s transaction records, card locking capabilities, blocking of certain categories of merchants, setting of spending limits, etc. We urge parents to actively engage their children on the responsible use of money and if appropriate, leverage on such features offered by card issuers to have a conversation around appropriate spending.