Pretty much everyone does some form of online shopping nowadays – it’s fair to say that we probably take it for granted. It’s also easy to assume that everyone and anyone (especially in Singapore) can shop online – but this isn’t actually the case. Why? Well, in order to shop online, you need a (Visa or Mastercard) debit card…. and this isn’t something that everyone gets – even if they have a Singapore bank account.
Surprising? It surprised us too. Although Singapore’s foreign domestic workers are offered a bank account with POSB, it only comes with a NETS card. And of course you can’t use a NETS card to buy things online. Which essentially means that the women who help us in our households miss out on these key advantages that you and I take for granted:
- Better prices. Cheaper deals are available online, because products come to you direct from the manufacturer or seller without involving middlemen or needing to cover the cost of a physical store.
- Time. Travelling to the shops, only to walk around and around and not find what you’re looking for…. Physical shopping is time-consuming, especially if it’s not something you really need to see or try before you buy it.
- Price comparison. Being able to easily compare prices without walking around multiple different shops is one of the key advantages of shopping online. There are quite a few online bots that even do this for you.
- Quality for money. Online product reviews from real customers give you a much more accurate depiction of the product itself than the labels in-store. If you’re buying something in a shop, you generally have to rely only on sight and your personal perspective to decide on the quality and suitability of the product.
- Local delivery. Want to buy a gift for a family member overseas? With online shopping, it’s as easy as finding a virtual store in their home country and arranging a local delivery.
Without a branded debit card, Singapore’s helpers don’t get these advantages of online shopping that you and I take for granted. The result is that they often end up paying more for things than we do…..And we at Lucy didn’t think that was right – so we decided that all women in Singapore should be able to get a fee-free Lucy debit card.
You can ensure your helper’s financial wellness by suggesting they create a free account with Lucy. She can get a free debit Mastercard for her online shopping, and also benefit from low-cost digital remittances home. You can pay her salary directly into her Lucy account too, and make financial management easier for both of you.