August 11, 2020

7 Must-Have Apps to Master the New Normal

From free fries to never having to queue to withdraw money again, lobang king Terence gives you the app hacks to make life easier

7 Must-Have Apps to Master the New Normal

First of all, do you know how powerful your smartphone is? Apart from the amazing tech packed into it, your phone can also help save you real time and money 💰

We wrote about 5 handy apps before but I've included 7 more of my favourite apps that have been super helpful as we go through this "new normal".

1. SafeEntry Without Needing To Scan QR Codes (Singpass App)

This app tops the list because we need to scan this every time we leave the house.

Remember that one time, Circles.Life hijacked SafeEntry for eSIM 😂 Source

If you’re constantly slowing down just to scan QR code and crowding around people just to do so, I have the perfect solution for you! (Oh, this is only applicable for Singaporeans and PRs I think.)

Introducing the Singpass App!

Yes, the same app that you use often when logging into Government websites.  You can actually check into places using this app without scanning any QR code!  All you need to do is click the ‘SafeEntry Check-in’ button, then you’ll see this menu:

Once you find the area or place that you’re checking into, just click ‘check in myself’. This also defeats the problem where the system didn’t save your details so you have to key it in again and again. Now you can walk pass the hordes of people scanning QR codes and check in like a boss.

Feel like this when checking in now. Source

Also with the Singpass app, you will never ever have to face this issue again:

So many tabs, so little time.

That’s because the app keep tracks of the places you are checked in at the main menu, so all you need to do is check out.

It's also smart in the sense if you need to do more than 1 check in. This is how the flow works if you’re heading to a shopping mall.

  1. You check into the mall.
  2. You check into a shop at the mall.
  3. Your Safe Entry will show the check in at the shop only
  4. Once you checked out of the shop, then it’ll show you your Safe Entry for the mall.
  5. You check out of the mall.

With this, you don’t need to scroll through the entire list of apps just to find the right safe entry to check out again. Or worse, scan another QR just to exit.

Why SimplyGo is just that much better in nearly every way. Source

I have to admit, I haven’t queued up to top up my EZ-link for years now. The only time that I do is to activate this feature to never top up again 😂

Simplygo is a feature where you can use your bank card as an EZ-link as well, with payment deducted straight from your credit card/bank account depending if you’re using a debit or credit card.

Here’s how to set it up:

Step 1: Click this link to register an account.

Step 2: Go to ‘My Cards’ > Add New Cards > Input Card Type and Card Description (Fill in a description so that you can recognize your card)

Step 3: Fill in your card details

Once completed you’ll see this screen telling you to check your email

With that, follow the step by step instructions in your email on what to do next in order to start using the card. It’s mostly instant now, but you will need to change your mode of payment because certain bank cards come in with built in EZ-link functionality.

This is where you need to queue up for the ticketing machine for the last time in your life to change the settings.

And done!

Best part is that you can track your rides using this system. There’s also an app where you can download to access this system quickly (iOS) (Android)

One more advantage with this feature is that you can now pay with your phones and wearables. I constantly tap with my Apple Watch now without needing to even take out my card at all.

3. Get Free Cashbacks For Your Purchases (Shopback)

Shopback is one of the must-get programs if you’re buying stuff be it online and offline. I have been using it for years now and have clocked quite a lot of ‘free money’

I covered this in my article on the 5 best referral programs you need to join because you can get real cash while referring friends. However, it’s also a good program to get cashback when you’re shopping online and offline.

Imagine doing what you’re already doing but getting free cash while doing so.

What it feels like with Shopback. Source

For online purchases, all you need to find the store and click through the app before shopping online. Popular ones I use include Grabfood, Foodpanda, Shopee and iHerb.

The best part is for the offline purchases because you can get cashback out from nowhere when you’re shopping outside. A lot of shops have teamed up with Shopback to provide cashback if you shop with them.

How this works is very simple:

Step 1: In the Shopback app, click the person icon next to the bell on the top right hand of the app

Step 2: Click Link/Manage Payment Methods

Step 3: Click Add a card securely and add your debit/credit card

And you’re done!

Next time you’re shopping outside, just use the same debit/credit card that you linked with Shopback to pay for your purchases. Who knows, you might just receive some cashback in your account.

You can check under the ‘In Store’ tab to see the stores that are giving cashback for your purchases. 

They’re mostly F&B related so you can always check out the shop beforehand to see if they provide cashback before dining in.

Note: The cards have to be a VISA/Mastercard. When paying, you can either use Paywave/Paypass or normal visa/mastercard payment. NETS will not entitle you to cashback.

4. Get Free Food At McDonalds & Save Time At KFC

Mcdonalds App: (iOS), (Android) | KFC App: (iOS), (Android)

This is for all you fast food fans out there because here’s how I get free food almost every purchase with these 2 places.

It’s definitely relatable alright. Source


Once you download the app, go under deals. You can usually find the latest deals and there’s usually very good value for money deals.

However, the main thing is that you can always get a free small fries, small coke or vanilla cone with every purchase.

All you need to do is click on the ‘My Feedback’ portion of the app. What this is is basically providing feedback to McDonalds regarding their food and service standards. It's also the place where you can ‘complain’ if there’s something you’re not happy about 😂

You just need to answer a series of questions which can be done in 1 to 2 minutes and you’ll receive a coupon which will appear under your ‘Deals’ once you’ve completed it.

The next time you’re ordering McDonalds, you can ‘scan’ this deal at the machine and you’ll be able to select your free stuff.

The T&C for this coupon is that you need to order something in order to use it. Basically, anything works, including ordering just a vanilla cone and picking a free coke to get a very cheap coke float.


KFC be wilding with their new seasonal chickens. Source

KFC doesn’t have promotions like Mac, but the main advantage here is that you can order through the app.

That means even before reaching the outlet, you can start placing your order and just pick up as you reach the outlet. This is one of the ways I use to save time instead of waiting at the counter for my order.

Also for the month of August, KFC is doing a NDP special where you can win coupons such as 1-for-1 zinger or $8 Mega Feast (Zinger, Banditto Pocket, 4 pcs Tenders).

Or if you’re lucky, you win $100 cash!

5. Self Collect Your Takeaways & Get Discount (Foodpanda)

Foodpanda App: (iOS), (Android)

Many of you would know Foodpanda for ordering your food, but do you know you can pick up your food with Foodpanda and get discounts at the same time?

Currently, Foodpanda provides 18% off if you choose to pick up your order which gives you additional discount on top of your purchases.

Take note of the discount given!

The main advantage is that you save a lot of time doing so when you are taking away your food. I do this often with my local prata shop as I can easily collect my order instead of waiting for them to fry my prata and pack everything.

However, there’s a few things you need to take note of:

  1. Shops on Foodpanda usually mark up prices. You’ll roughly need to know the item pricing to determine if you should order through the app or directly from the store. As such, it may not be worth it even after the 18% discount
  2. You can pay through your debit/credit card using this method when certain shops (kopitiam or small shops) don’t accept cards at their store.
  3. This method helps you save time where you don’t need to wait for them to cook your food and can just grab and go.

Once you weigh the pros and cons, this method can actually help you save both time and money for your takeaways! Grab and Deliveroo also have the pick up function, but only Foodpanda provides you a discount doing so!

6. Skip Queuing ATM To Withdraw Money (Socash)

Socash App: (iOS), (Android)

Imagine you need to withdraw money and head towards your nearest ATM and you see a queue like this:

Wah sian, long queue again. Source

Introducing Socash! This app allows you to withdraw money from shops that have partnered up with Socash. Here’s a super dramatic video by the company on how it works:

Note that withdrawing cash requires a DBS/POSB or ICBC bank account. Also, you will need your internet banking details on standby to log in.

Here’s how it works:

1. Open up the app, select how much you want to withdraw and the store you want to withdraw from.

2. On your confirmation screen, you’ll see instructions on how to get to the shop. Once ready, click the ‘Confirm Cashpoint’

3. You will need to log in to your internet banking. Once done, click the bank account you want to withdraw from and confirm.

4. Go to the shop and tell the person ‘Socash’. You will need to scan the QR code to confirm and the shop staff will pass you the cash.

5. Get that fabulous cash in hand 💵

Take note that for places like 7-11, you’ll need to make a purchase in order to use socash. You can deduct your purchase directly from your withdrawal amount as well.

With socash, you’ll be able to skip the queues as this is a relatively hidden method.

Oh, did I mention you get cashback every withdrawal? And also, withdraw 3 times within a week and get a $1 cashback in withdrawal.

Of course I want lah. Source

The cashback is credited to you when withdrawing, so for example you’ll pay only $29 but still receive $30 cash. To get the cashback, you’ll need to withdraw a minimum of $30.

7. Save Money & Food At The Same Time (Treatsure)

Treatsure App: (iOS), (Android)

This is one app you need to have if you want to help save food while saving money at the same time. The app’s main draw used to be the buffet box where you can take away from buffets for just $10 per box.

And these buffets are from 5 star restaurants such as Asian Market Cafe and Clove where the buffets can cost up to $90++ for a dinner here.

These 2 boxes costs $10 each!

How it works was that you are given the box, then you get to stuff it as much food as it can fit. Of course, there are certain restrictions like no cold food, sushi, seafood, ice cream and more.

As expected due to COVID, the buffet takeaway was halted since buffets can’t be operated in the normal ways that we’re used to. Most buffet places that are operating are now doing ala-carte buffet instead.

However, you can take advantage of the offer from Grand Hyatt from 7.15 to 8 pm and get a burger from them at that time for only $7.90!

The other part of their app is also groceries where you can choose to buy discount groceries which may be expiring soon but at a much cheaper price than you would find in retail shops.

Food wastage is a real thing, and this app is one of those that help to alleviate the problem. I have personally met the man who created this app, and know that they are always evolving to solve the food wastage issue!

So which is your favourite?

I have listed down 7 of my favourites that I use frequently, especially with the safe entry hack that I learned not too long ago.

The most important thing about your smartphone is that it should make you SMART, am I right?

Damn right. Source

Of course, there’s many other apps that many of you should already know. Hopefully this article help you expand the list of apps that help you save some money and time as well!

Do let me know in the Facebook comments which is your favourite hack, or if you have an app that you die die can't live without either.

Power all these apps and more with the smartest plans with more data from Circles.Life. Click here to get started 😉

Our app is pretty awesome too (4.8/5 stars) and includes plenty of nifty features including giveaways, movies/workshop bookings and more!