I bet most of you would have seen something like this by now, and have been an expert at scanning QR codes thanks to SafeEntry.
But the bigger question is: Why should we use this when we can either just use cash or NETS?
Being an early adopter of cashless payment for years now, I was initially drawn in by how this system incentivized spends via discounts and rebates that were exclusive to this platform.
After using them for quite awhile, I know which payment methods you should bother with and which you can simply skip. But before we dive into all that, let me address that ONE big ting everyone keeps asking:
What’s The Difference Between PayNow and PayLah?
First we need to break down the difference between these two, because most users tend to get confused over these two options, thinking it’s the same thing 😅 Truth is there's a Big difference, as they're essentially 2 different platforms.
PayNow is an agreement launched by the Association of Banks to allow users to transfer to each other using a mobile number or NRIC/FIN number, instead of having to transfer through bank number and different bank.
PayNow is also a way to pay merchants and businesses as well. This involves direct transferring of money from your bank to the merchant and business.
PayLah is an app that is owned by DBS/POSB that can be used for payment, and to transfer money from users to other users of PayLah. You can use the PayLah app to PayNow other users who aren’t PayLah users.
Recently, PayLah has started to integrate promotions on their platform and you can pay directly to specific merchants like KFC, Favepay, Gojek, WhyQ, Chope and more.
The Payment Methods
Now that we got that out of the way, we can finally go to the main part of the article: Which payment methods are the best to use when paying? After exploring quite a lot of it, here’s the few that you can consider using since you’re probably a pro at scanning QR codes by now:
In case you didn’t know, GrabPay is by Grab. It is mainly used to pay for services on the app with GrabCar and GrabFood.
GrabPay has become one of the mainstream payment methods with a lot of merchants accepting it as a payment method. I even start to see hawkers accepting GrabPay, which is a big plus as well.
In order to use GrabPay, you need to top up money to your GrabPay Wallet first using either debit card, credit card, or PayNow. After which, you can use these credits to pay for goods and services outside the app as well.
Even better, there’s a GrabPay card for merchants who don’t accept GrabPay directly as the GrabPay card is treated like a debit card.
The biggest reason to use Grabpay is for the GrabReward points. If you’re a heavy user of Grab, then this will be quite useful when you can use the points to redeem vouchers and stuff.
The downside of this is that there is no cashback or miles for credit card top up. With the recent nerfs earlier this year, the credit card reward outweigh the benefits of GrabRewards points pretty much.
So if you are primarily using cash or debit card as payment, then consider using GrabPay and the GrabPay card for added benefits.
Benefit: Earn GrabRewards points when paying with GrabPay.
Favepay is operated by Fave, which runs the coupon website. For the OGs, this was formerly known as Groupon. Anyway, FavePay has been in the market for contactless payment for quite awhile too. But I personally find that there were not as many merchants accepting FavePay compared to GrabPay.
The thing I like about FavePay is that you get cashback for every purchase which is usable back at the same store. This is especially useful if you patronise the same store over and over, and it is a way for you to get cashback.
To use FavePay, you’ll need to either attach a credit card or you can also choose to link to your GrabPay Wallet. By connecting Favepay to Grabpay, you are able to use the money in your Grabpay Wallet. But this also means you’ll need to top up the wallet first before being able to use the money
If not, you can attach it to your credit card to get the credit card rebates of Cashback or Miles 🙌
Benefit: Earn cashback with the shop when using Favepay
3. Paywave/Paypass (And Shopback)
For those of you who use debit or credit cards at physical stores for purchases, here’s something you need to know. If you already haven’t, link your cards to your Shopback account. (PS. If you don’t already have a Shopback account, check out this article here)
It’s a one time process for linking your cards. After that, enjoy the cashback if the store is with Shopback. Best part, you don’t need to tell the shop anything. Just tap your card, pay as per usual, and then get the cashback in your account on top of your usual credit card rebates and rewards.
After that, just get free money out of nowhere because you forgot about it but still get cashback!
Benefit: One tip setup, and earn cashback which can be withdrawn to your bank account with a minimum withdrawal of $10.
4. Google Pay
This has been one of my favorites so far because the app does more than paying businesses. In fact, I wrote an article about it and why you should definitely sign up for an account (and get $5 free for signing up an account)
In case you missed it, Google Pay recently officially launched in Singapore. Like any good launch party, they are throwing out a lot of incentives and rewarding users for using the app to pay businesses and even friends!
To use Google Pay, you will need to attach to a local bank account. Right now, only DBS (through Paylah), OCBC and Standard Chartered are supported. You can also attach your debit or credit cards to Google Pay. Only for Android users, you can use Google Pay through your phone to pay businesses and receive rebates through that too.
For iPhone users, you can scan and pay businesses who accept PayNow using Google Pay to receive rebates as well.
Benefit: Get bonus cashback for performing actions like paying businesses, friends, movie tickets and more!
What’s Your Favorite Payment Method?
There’s way too many payment methods to name out in this article or it’ll just stretch too long. What I listed is what I feel are the core essentials if you want to get started with contactless payments in Singapore.
I personally pay using either one of these 4 methods listed above because I get to earn rewards on top of my purchases every single time. Plus, I hardly even bring cash around so that’s a big bonus. It has come to a point where I would buy an item for a slightly higher price if it means I don’t have to deal in cash anymore.
Hopefully this article helps clear up some confusion about PayNow and PayLah, plus serve as intro for those of you who have not started using contactless payment.
Bonus: During this period when hygiene is such an important issue too, so best to deal less with physical cash 😂 If in doubt, just start with these 4 that I listed above and you’ll be able to reap the most benefits! Here's hoping that Circles.Life will one day join this list with their own payment portal and rewards 😏