I work around the Raffles Place area, and during lunch I spotted someone distributing flyers for soCash. soCash is a fintech startup backed by a grant from the MAS that turns merchants into cashpoints (I know, I know, cashless society). It’s kind of like what some banks have been doing to solve the ATM shortage problem with partnerships at 7-Eleven/Singposts/Guardian etc that let you withdraw cash when you make a purchase.
Now SoCash isn’t new- it’s been around for over a year already, but I’m guessing they’re doing a sign up drive right now. If you download the SoCash app (I get a referral credit when you use this link, you also get a bonus of $3 too), you get $5 when you make your first withdrawal, and a further $5 after you make 3 more withdrawals.
You need to sign up by 23 April and make your withdrawals by 30 April to be eligible
The soCash app currently lists only DBS/POSB, the bank that arguably has the least problems with ATM availability. That said, they’re also integrated with Standard Chartered’s mobile banking app so that’s another option (no free money if you pick this option though). I imagine the team will be racing to bring more banks on board in the near future.
I’m not above aunty-scrambling for money, so I downloaded the app and realised there was a cashpoint just next to where I was on the 2nd floor of the Arcade (soCash currently has about 700 cashpoints across the island ).
I found the cashpoint pretty easily. Cashpoint merchants display a soCash sticker (this one a bit less prominently)
The process is extremely simple. You select your cashpoint on the app and enter the amount of money you want to withdraw (min $10).
The free $5 works like this: I requested $20 on the app, and was billed for $15 through Paylah.
The merchant will take out a device that looks something like this with a QR code. You use your soCash app to scan the QR code, you’re sent to your Paylah account (or DBS/POSB ibanking if you prefer, but I think that’s more complicated) where you approve the payment, and then you get your cash from the merchant.
That’s it. Here’s what $20 looks like, in case you’ve never seen it before.
Now that’s only $5 of the free $10 on offer. I later did a couple more transactions with the same merchant to unlock the other $5, but apparently you’re limited to 3 transactions with a single merchant each day. Given there’s a cluster of cashpoints around the Raffles Place/CBD area it shouldn’t be too hard for you to unlock the full $10.
I know some of you might already have thoughts of MS in your head, but I’m struggling to see how it would be possible with this setup. soCash clearly won’t be able to afford paying merchant fees on cards (and in all likelihood banks would classify this as a quasi cash transaction and not award points anyway) so we can forget about seeing that as an option.
One annoying thing about the soCash app is that if you don’t kill it and let it idle in the background, it has a tenancy to pop up over your other apps randomly when you open them (this was on an Android phone). Also, the service recovery mechanism is a bit oversensitive- if you do a dummy transaction but don’t complete it, you’ll get an automated alert via email that you can’t seem to opt out of asking you what went wrong.
Otherwise, I’m all for $10 of free money. The promotion runs for a limited time, so you might want to grab your share of VC money while it lasts.