Mobile Wallet & Payment Options in Singapore – What’s The Difference?
As Singapore slowly eases into becoming a cashless society and Smart Nation, there have been many different e-wallets and other contactless payments and schemes that have been set up over the years.
While we’re familiar with debit and credit card contactless payment options, the number of mobile wallets and payments in the market can become very confusing and create more of an inconvenience. As PM Lee noted, there are too many different schemes and systems that “don’t talk to one another”!
ShopBack has put together a guide of the available mobile wallets and payments right here in Singapore, so you can be ahead of the cashless curve!
Bank Mobile Wallets and Payments
PayNow (Association of Banks)
Rolled out by the Association of Bank, PayNow works with 7 major banks: DBS, POSB, OCBC, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, CitiBank Singapore and UOB, and is the first step toward creating a unified mobile payment system. PayNow links your bank account to your mobile number and/or NRIC, allowing fund transfers instantly with just your mobile or IC number. Setup is quick and easy and all you have to do is log into your existing bank’s platform to link your mobile or NRIC number.
PayNow is a complementary service, not a one-all, be-all. It does not have its own mobile app, but services via the bank apps you currently have installed. Banking on the Fast And Secure Transfer (FAST) system, transferring funds is now made easier between the participating banks and one PayNow account.
However, you cannot register the same mobile number as a PayNow proxy for 2 different bank accounts. However, you can register your mobile number and NRIC number separately for 2 different bank and PayNow accounts.
There are even plans to make the PayNow e-payment option available in hawker centres!
Within the first few weeks of its launch, DBS/POSB PayLah! attracted over 50,000 users. Servicing peer-to-peer, peer-to-business and even business-to-peer transactions, PayLah! is a mobile wallet that aims to be a one-stop app for money transactions. Send and receive money using mobile numbers, QR codes and payment links. You can even scan and pay at merchants with NETS terminals or the PayLah! QR Code.
Other features include the Auto Debit feature (funds will be deducted from your linked bank account when you have insufficient wallet balance), bill payment, faster online checkouts, eAng Bao, mobile pre-paid top-up and making donations. PayLah! also supports funds transfer via PayNow.
However, both parties have to have PayLah! to send funds successfully.
UOB Mighty simply links to your UOB bank account. As long as your device supports NFC and the app, you can use UOB Mighty to pay at participating merchant stores with a QR code. They also bring you information on deals in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, so you can pay with the app while traveling to these countries.
They also offer a Mighty Dine option, allowing you to search and browse from over 3000 restaurants. Search, book and then pay your bills all within this nifty app.
OCBC Pay Anyone
The new standalone app was previously integrated into OCBC’s banking app. OCBC Pay Anyone also uses QR codes at NETS terminal and affiliated stores to make payments. What makes the app a standout is its OCBC Keyboard, allowing users to send payments through a button embedded at the top of the keyboard. You will not need to log into the app separately, with the ability to send funds even if you’re in the middle of messaging someone. Besides the keyboard, you can also transfer money via iMessage without leaving the conversation when prompted.
After sending money, recipients will receive an SMS message to collect the funds. Enter a passcode pre-set by the sender as verification, select your bank account and voila, transfer complete. The recipient does not need an OCBC account to receive payment.
Citi Pay, like the other digital wallets available from banks, is a mobile wallet that links your Citi Cards. With the app, your Citi Cards are automatically added to the list when you log in for the first time. Citi Pay works on all NFC terminals in the city, allowing you to tap-and-go when you make a purchase. Security-wise, the app does not store your actual credit card information either, using a generated Digital Card Number instead.
You are entitled to Citi benefits as well, including Citi Rewards and Citibank Gourmet Pleasures, a curated list of the best dining promotions. In addition, get up to 10% rebates at over 500 locations with Citi Pay. The app is only available for Android at the moment.
Mobile Brands Mobile Wallets and Payments
Along with banks, mobile brands have their own cashless wallets too. Largely similar in their functions, they can be used in conjunction with the bank apps when required.
iPhone and Apple watch users can use Apple Pay. Secured with the Touch ID system, the app works with seven major banks in Singapore, allowing you to add up to 8 different credit and debit cards to your mobile wallet. The most convenient part of it is that it allows you to store several memberships by scanning the barcode of your card. This way, you can leaf through all available connected cards to make payment.
Payments are authenticated with Touch ID and for those getting the iPhone X, payment is authenticated with its brand new Face ID. Apple fans who use a MacBook Pro can also make payments online in Safari. Apple Pay uses a unique transaction code in place of your actual credit card number, so your credit and debit card information is not stored in the device. Transactions are also made private, as records are not kept. The best part of it all, this app is available on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and the latest versions of the Mac – talk about total Apple domination and convenience!
Android Pay uses NFC technology, making it highly compatible with most phones running on Android system. It currently supports Visa and Mastercard from DBS/POSB, OCBC, UOB, Standard Chartered and American Express. Users can add gift cards and loyalty cards such as NTUC’s Plus! card and earn or redeem points for their loyalty programs with this mobile wallet. This app can also be a payment option in other apps such as Grab.
In terms of security, Android Pay uses a virtual account number to represent your account info, keeping your card details secure. Smartwatches equipped with Android Wear 2.0 and above can set up this service as well.
“Pay without limits, almost everywhere” is a pretty bold statement to make, but Samsung Pay makes it work. Samsung Pay works with NFC technology as well as Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology. The MST technology allows your mobile to work just like a credit card, transmitting magnetic waves to simulate a card swipe on the payment terminal. They have also recently launched loyalty cards on their app, allowing you to keep tabs on any barcode-based loyalty card in the mobile wallet.
Security-wise, Samsung Pay uses their Iris Scanner for their latest phone models, as well as the classic fingerprint and pin authentication. Another enticing feature is the Samsung Rewards. Earn up to 30 Samsung Reward points with each transaction, redeemable for Samsung products or discounts. While this is only available on mobile at the moment, expansion of this function to Samsung Gear is expected to come soon. 10 cards can be added to the digital wallet.
EZ-Link can also be linked with your Samsung Pay, so you can truly travel and make payments with one single app.
Telcos and NFC SIM Card Mobile Wallets and Payments
The first of its kind in Singapore with a 3-year head start, Dash is dubbed as the ‘most widely accepted all-in-one mobile wallet’. Not only can you send money and pay at affiliated stores, Dash can be used as your EZ-Link card (NFC Transit SIM card required), allows you to top up your prepaid services and remit money overseas. Get deals and cashback, send money locally and even top up your Singtel Prepaid account. Users can also charge your mobile wallet top-up (capped at $200) to your Singtel bill.
To be EZ-Link compatible, you also need to upgrade your SIM card to a NFC Transit SIM Card. Also, note that to transfer money locally or overseas requires you to sign up at their brick-and-mortar flagship store down in Lucky Plaza or City Plaza.
Dash will ask for a lot of permissions, making setup a more tedious process compared to other mobile wallets on the list. Moreover, after enabling your NFC, you still have to manually input a ‘Counter Code’ for payment.
M1 Mobile Wallet
After activating your mobile wallet, you will be able to use (1) M1 NFC Prepaid MasterCard and (2) NFC Ez-Link functions. Users can top-up amounts into the digital wallet into either card using the app. Besides using the app to pay for public transport, M1’s mobile wallet works on any payment terminals that accept EZ-Link, MasterCard PayPass and MasterCard Contactless payments. While the app is nothing out of the ordinary it makes for an additional digital wallet option for M1 users.
Other Mobile Wallets and Payments
With Masterpass, you can keep all your credit and debit cards in one place, and skip the hassle of filing checkout forms while shopping online. Create an account, load participating credit or debit cards and you’re ready to go. With Masterpass, your online shopping experience becomes more streamlined, as the app remembers your preferences for future check-out.
While the Masterpass by Mastercard mobile app has yet to come to our island, it is expected to arrive soon. The new app will allow users to shop on their mobile online, in partnership apps as well as introduce a tap-and-go payment function. Masterpass is equipped with multi-layer security, protecting your data, verifying payments and offering Zero-liability Protection, protecting you from unauthorised payments.
With a Visa Checkout account, you can also link several cards (that are not necessarily Visa cards). The service will then pre-fill your preferred method of payment and shipping address, much like Mastercard’s Masterpass, after your first registration at every checkout. This way, account holders can skip the hassle of typing payment details over and over again. Visa Checkout does not have its standalone app, but you can link your Visa Checkout account with Android Pay. Considering how most Visa cards can be registered with other mobile wallet apps on this page, this is recommended more for online shoppers.
Probably one of the more well-known online payment options around, users register via a working email. Simply link a credit/debit card or bank account to your account and use that account to make payments. Paypal also allows you to send funds around the globe where Paypal functions, converting currencies based on their exchange rates for you conveniently. With the new One Touch function, Paypal can remember the login credentials for you, providing faster checkout. Members can top-up into the digital wallet and withdraw funds if they link their bank account to the Paypal account. Paypal does have a mobile app that allows you to send and monitor transactions, so you can make payments on the go.
Singapore as a cashless society
As we continue to work towards becoming a Smart Nation, it seems like more and more banks and companies will fight to be the top mobile payment and wallet option.
Let us know which is your preferred method of payment! Cash or cashless? Do you use any mobile wallets? Let us know!