Singapore financial services group DBS/POSB and the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Singapore announced Wednesday a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to widen the access to contactless and digital payments, in all junior colleges/Millennia Institute, secondary and primary schools in Singapore.

DBS said in a statement that the three-year MOU will expand the POSB Smart Buddy programme across all junior colleges/millennia institute, secondary and primary schools by 2025.

DBS/POSB will also install tap-and-pay terminals for students to make e-payments via POSB Smart Buddy cards and smartwatches, as well as EZ-Link cards.

According to the statement, DBS/POSB will install digital payment infrastructure, including tap-and-pay terminals, in school canteens and bookstores. The tap-and-pay terminals to be installed can accept payments made through POSB Smart Buddy smartwatches or cards, as well as other payment modes, such as the School Smart Card and EZ-Link Card.

“It is incumbent on us to ensure that no one is left behind in this digital age. The POSB Smart Buddy programme was designed to make digital payments and financial literacy simple, seamless, and accessible to all. Through this partnership with MOE, we aim to give every student the option to familiarise themselves with using digital payments in their everyday lives, while learning how to cultivate prudent savings and spending habits,

“We believe these skills will provide a solid foundation for achieving financial wellness when they transition to the next stage of their lives,” said Jeremy Soo, Managing Director and Head of Consumer Banking Group (Singapore), DBS Bank.

The POSB Smart Buddy Programme was launched in 2017 and is the world’s first integrated in-school wearable digital savings and payment programme. Under the programme, students and their parents can track their spending and saving patterns via the POSB Smart Buddy app. Students can also use the app to set savings goals, while parents can manage their child’s spending by setting daily allowance limits and viewing their child’s purchases in real-time.

Since the founding of the programme, the bank has been collaborating with participating schools to provide a more integrated e-payment experience, such as using POSB Smart Buddy to assist schools in administering meal subsidies to students on financial assistance. Today, some 40,000 students from about 80 primary and secondary schools are using POSB Smart Buddy smartwatches and applicable cards to make e-payments in schools.

In a DBS/POSB survey of more than 600 parents, more than 65 percent of respondents said POSB Smart Buddy has helped their children save and manage their expenses better. More than 70 percent of respondents also found that POSB Smart Buddy was a useful tool to help educate their children about savings and expenditure. In addition, more than 90 percent of parents surveyed believed that it was important for their children to be familiar with using digital tools for daily activities as the world becomes increasingly digitalized.

“MOE recognizes the growing use of e-payment in our society. Having a cashless option in schools will provide students with an environment to use e-payment safely while enjoying the convenience and benefits of going cashless, such as faster transactions when making purchases,” said Clarence Tang, Divisional Director, Finance and Procurement Division, MOE.

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