8 Cards S’poreans Used to Have in Their Wallets Before Smartphones Took Over

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Back in the past, forgetting to bring your wallet out was the closest thing to apocalypse: you couldn’t do anything, and it was imperative that you went back home to take it.

Now? Not so much. Forgetting to bring your smartphone out is a much more serious issue.

Wallets used to carry some of our most important cards, and all of them are now either in our phone, or they are replaced by other cards.

If you’ve once lived through the 90s, I’m pretty sure you’ve owned these cards before.

And if you don’t recognize any of these cards, I envy you: you’re still so young.

Phone Cards

Image: carousell.com

Imagine meeting your friends at 2:00 p.m. in Jurong Point’s McDonald’s. It’s 2:30 p.m. and he’s still not there.

If it is 2018, you can simply call his mobile. But in 1998, no one except big bosses had a handphone (yeah, no such thing as smartphone), so the only option was to look for a pay phone and called his house.

Without this card, we would have spent hundreds of hours merely waiting. This was a life saviour.

Library Card

Image: remembersingapore.wordpress.com

In the past, we didn’t read Facebook; we read real books.

And most of us didn’t buy our books; instead, we made a trip to the library every week to borrow four books using this card.

The only memory I had of this card is that it’s so long, it can’t fit into my wallet nicely.

But things soon changed.

And then, a “high-tech” library card

Image: singaporememory.sg

We were all like, “WOW! So high-tech! It’s laminated and they use some thingy to scan those bars!”


Guess back then, we didn’t expect cars to be driving by themselves now.

“Bus Pass”

Image: zzanyy.blogspot.com

You call it concession pass now, but in the past, we just call it “Bus Pass”. And the stamps there allow us to take unlimited rides in a swag manner: just board the bus and show the bus driver your card like a CID officer.

And if you don’t have this? Well…


Image: carousell.com

…you use this. It works like Ez-link, just that instead of tapping your card, you let this machine devour your card.


Image: remembersingapore.wordpress.com

Yeah, now you know why these machines are still in some buses. It contains not just bus tickets, but also memories of our journey #deep

Fake American Express Card

Image: digitaltrends.com

HAHA, I’m sure I’m not the only one with this.

This usually came with the wallet, and for some reason, we’d just leave it in. It kind of made us feel rich when we were not.



Image: remembersingapore.wordpress.com

You’ve got to be pretty old to have owned this before.

What you might not know is that this laminated card is actually pink: they look brown because they…well, didn’t age very well.

Find out more about this here!


Image: dayre.me


Nowadays, most ATM cards are debit cards as well, but in the past, when online shopping was as rare as an influencer donating money to charity, this was how we went cashless.

Everyone had one, and if you lost it, meh: just call the bank when you’re free, ‘coz no one knows your pin.

So, after this short trip to the past, do you feel that technology is evolving faster than you think?

I certainly think so.

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