The so-called CB lockdowns require ramping up of free or discounted digital services before people will bite readily …

With the stricter ‘circuit breaker’ (CB) measures encouraging social distancing and remote-working in Singapore, digital services have become much more critical for consumers and businesses.

One telco’s response to the CB measures is to offer new initiatives that will provide customers and partners with more options as they seek to remit money, shop online for necessities, and connect their businesses with demand.

The company in question, Singtel, has a mobile app called Dash that aids employers and foreign workers based in Singapore who are impacted by stay home measures and travel restrictions. For now, Dash will offer complimentary mobile remittance services to enable safe and convenient digital money transfers to the seven countries in its network: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines.

Mr Arthur Lang, CEO of Singtel’s International Group, said, “During these uncertain times, we understand how important it is for customers to be able to stay connected or send money to loved ones, and we are pleased to enable that through our digital services like Dash. In particular, we’re extending support to healthcare workers fighting on the frontline, and foreign workers in Singapore. We recognize that many of our remittance customers are the sole breadwinners in their families, and we want to rally behind them by relieving some of the burden they face in these challenging circumstances.”

Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, Chairman of the Migrant Workers’ Centre and the Centre for Domestic Employees said: “The COVID-19 outbreak has placed great strain on our foreign worker community in Singapore, especially with the stricter measures being implemented to fight the spread. We welcome Singtel’s efforts to make it easier for our migrant brothers and sisters to use mobile remittance services and defray some costs, as well as give them the freedom to do remittance without the need to queue physically at remittance outlets. This will help provide much-needed peace of mind for the workers and their families, who depend on receiving this money promptly during this trying period.” 

Remittance fee waivers, complimentary insurance

The Dash service will offer complimentary remittance servicesfrom 9 April to 8 May this year  to healthcare workers sending money to any of the seven markets mentioned, and to Malaysians transferring funds home to Malaysia, a new addition to Dash’s remittance network. Dash will also waive fees on all new users’ first mobile remittance.

In addition, Dash has teamed up with Singapore insurer NTUC Income to be one of the first to extend free 30-day COVID-19 insurance protectionto foreign workers when they remit at least S$100 back home. The COVID-19 insurance provides a S$1,000 lump-sum pay-out upon diagnosis, and supplements Dash Protect, which is already available on a complimentary basis to customers remitting S$100 and above.

Later in April, Dash will also enhance its remittance offering for China, which is Singapore’s largest remittance market. Dash will be the first mobile wallet in Singapore to connect with the Alipay app and its 900 million users, expanding the remittance options for transfers to China beyond bank accounts.

This new offering enables Chinese working and living in Singapore to make seamless and near real- time transfers from their phones directly to their beneficiaries’ wallets directly, without the need to queue up at physical remittance houses. Dash customers need only add an Alipay-registered mobile number in the Dash app, and the recipient in China will receive the money within minutes through the bank account linked with the Alipay app.

“Mobile remittance services is one way customers can reduce their exposure to crowds and physical contact. Furthermore, employers can increase convenience for their foreign workers by paying them directly through Dash, as that money can then be easily and securely sent overseas without having to leave the safety of home. We’re encouraging one and all to use digital services during this time to stay home and stay safe,” Lang added.

Stay Home, Stay Connected campaign

To help customers tide through this period, Dash is also launching a Stay Home, Stay Connected campaign in the coming weeks, partnering top online shopping sites such as Lazada, Shopee and Amazon, as well as food delivery services including Deliveroo to offer even greater savings. Customers can use their Dash Visa Virtual Account to make online purchases or food and grocery deliveries from home without the need for an actual credit or debit card.

The app will also be helping merchants find, connect with, and serve the needs of the online customer base, functioning as a channel for them to market their services to all Singapore residents.

For instance, to encourage the support of small and medium businesses, Dash will offer cashbacks on all purchases at 99%SME, an online marketplace that aims to encourage people nationwide to discover products from these businesses. This initiative is in support of the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s Stay Healthy, Go Digital campaign to promote the use of digital technologies to carry out daily activities from home and make business continuity plans more accessible during COVID-19.

Dash, which counts over a million registered users, is available to everyone regardless of telco or banking relationship, and it can be downloaded on any mobile platform.