Your Ultimate Guide to E-Wallet Apps in Singapore (Featuring DBS PayLah!, FavePay, GrabPay and Many More Brands)
Singapore’s e-payments journey started way back in 1984 with the introduction of GIRO.
Since then, our digital cashless payment capabilities have evolved.
Now, we can pay for things instantaneously with a tap of a button.
Especially with the help of electronic wallets (e-wallets).
Or digital wallets, mobile wallets and mobile payment as they may also be called.
With so many offerings available to consumers like DBS PayLah!, FavePay, and GrabPay, you are probably confused as to which one you should use.
And what the differences between them are.
That’s where we come in…
To break things down simply for you so you can make the best choice when it comes to e-wallets.
So that this will be a thing of the past….
(Editor’s note: Apps like Apple Pay and FavePay aren’t technically e-wallets since money is not stored in-app. We’ve included such apps here as well to provide you, our readers, with a holistic comparison.)
TL;DR: Everything You Need to Know About Mobile Wallets in Singapore
Here’s a summary just for you:
- E-wallets, also known as digital wallets or mobile wallets, allow you to store credit cards, debit cards, credits, and sometimes loyalty cards on your smartphone, instead of traditionally in a physical wallet.
- Some digital wallets allow you to send, receive and store money as well.
- Mobile wallets come with many benefits, including providing the convenience that cash payments don’t.
- If you are using e-wallets to store money, there are certain considerations, such as, “Is there an expiry date for the money in the mobile wallet?”
- According to a study by iPrice Group and App Annie Intelligence, the top e-wallet app in Singapore was GrabPay.
- There are many types of mobile wallets available in Singapore and they can be down into bank-based mobile wallet; non-bank-based mobile wallet; and gadget-based mobile wallet.
- To know about the different types of e-wallets you can use, you can jump in here.
What Are E-Wallets?
E-wallets, also known as digital wallets or mobile wallets, allow you to store credit cards, debit cards, credits, and sometimes loyalty cards on your smartphone, instead of traditionally in a physical wallet.
By doing so, when you are out and about shopping, you just have to bring your smartphone to pay for your purchases.
Gone are the days you have to lug your wallet or purse around.
You can use the e-wallets for digital payments when you do your online shopping as well.
Some e-wallets allow you to send, receive and store money too.
Good, or good?
Why Use E-Wallets?
According to consulting firm McKinsey, the majority of Singaporeans, at 77%, use e-wallets.
It’s not surprising, given their benefits.
For one, digital wallets provide the convenience that cash payment doesn’t.
With mobile wallets, you don’t have to handle physical cash, which is especially great during the COVID-19 pandemic.
E-wallets are also fast, secure and accepted widely by various merchants.
In fact, since we are able to use mobile wallets widely in Singapore, we may feel inconvenienced if a certain merchant doesn’t accept any form of e-payment.
Another benefit is that some e-wallets are tagged to reward programs for you to stretch that dollar.
However, no matter the convenience offered by digital wallets, it’s advisable not to store large amounts of money in your e-wallet in case you lose your smartphone or the issuer gets into financial problems.
What Are Some Things to Consider Before Using E-Wallets?
If you use an e-wallet where you can transfer money into the app, consider the following:
- Is there an expiry date for the money in the e-wallet?
- Is there a maximum value that the e-wallet can hold at any time?
- Is there a maximum value you can transfer out from the e-wallet at any time?
- Are there any fees involved for top-up or other services?
Which Is the Top E-Wallet App?
According to a study by iPrice Group and App Annie Intelligence, the top e-wallet app in Singapore was GrabPay.
It had the highest number of monthly active users and total downloads in the last eight quarters from the third quarter of 2019.
Coming in as the second most popular e-wallet was DBS PayLah!, followed by FavePay, EZ-Link, and Alipay.
In terms of combined iOS and Google Play downloads, NetsPay and Singtel Dash also featured in the top five, with their rankings fluctuating through the past eight quarters.
What Are the E-Wallets Available in Singapore?
There are many types of mobile wallets available in Singapore.
Broadly, I’ve broken them down into:
|Bank-Based Mobile Wallet||What You Need to Sign Up?||Where Can It Be Used?|
|DBS PayLah!||DBS/POSB digibank account or MyInfo account; Singapore registered mobile number; smartphone with iOS 10 and above or Android version 4.4 and above||Make payments at participating merchants by scanning the NETS, SG and/or PayNow QR codes using your DBS PayLah! app|
|OCBC Pay Anyone||OCBC online banking account, OCBC savings or current account; smartphone with iOS 10 and above or Android version 4.1 and above||Scan the NETS QR or PayNow QR codes to pay at participating merchants|
|UOB Mighty||UOB accounts such as current or savings accounts, etc (details below); devices with iOS 10 and above or Android version 6.0 and above||Make payments at participating merchants by scanning the QR code or tapping your phone on the payment terminal|
|NETSPay||DBS, POSB, OCBC and UOB NETS bank cards; NETSPay app works with certain iPhones and Android phones only (details below)||Scan the NETS QR code to pay at participating merchants or tap on NETS terminal (for certain Android phones; details below)|
|Non-Bank-Based Mobile Wallet||What You Need to Use?||Where Can It Be Used?|
|Alipay||Chinese bank account, credit card or stored value card||ComfortDelGro and Prime taxis, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore Zoo, Universal Studios, Metro, etc|
|EZ-Link Wallet||Local bank card (Visa and Mastercard-issued only)||Selected merchants in Singapore with SG QR code; Alipay Connect-enabled merchant in Japan|
|FavePay||Credit card, debit card, or GrabPay||Selected merchants with the FavePay QR code|
|GrabPay||Credit card, debit card, or PayNow to transfer money in||Selected merchants with GrabPay QR code; pay for Grab rides and GrabFood deliveries; use with GrabPay Card where Mastercard is accepted|
|Singtel Dash||Top up using a local bank account, credit/debit card, or OCBC Pay Anyone; to use Dash Visa virtual card, you need a compatible Apple device or Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled Android phone||Selected merchants with Dash QR code; pay via Dash Visa virtual card wherever Visa contactless is accepted|
|WeChat Pay||Chinese bank account, credit card or stored value card||ComfortDelGro taxis, 7-Eleven, Cold Storage, Giant, Guardian, etc|
|Gadget-Based Mobile Wallet||What You Need to Use?||Participating Banks and Issuers||Where Can It Be Used?|
|Apple Pay||Apply products (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac)||American Express, Citibank, DBS/POSB, HSBC, OCBC, Revolut, Singtel, Standard Chartered, and UOB||7-Eleven, Best, Breadtalk, Fairprice, Giant, Sheng Siong, Uniqlo, etc|
|Google Pay||Google Pay works on Android devices running Android version 4.4 or higher||American Express, Citibank, DBS/POSB, OCBC, Revolut, Standard Chartered, TransferWise, and UOB||7-Eleven, Cheers, Cold Storage, NUTC, McDonalds, Uniqlo, etc|
|Huawei Pay||Available on selected Huawei smartphones (refer to list below)||ICBC Singapore||Huawei Pay supports Near Field Communication (NFC) payment in retail stores|
|Samsung Pay||Available on selected Samsung devices (refer to list below)||American Express, Citibank, DBS/POSB, Fevo, Grab, Maybank, OCBC, Standard Chartered, and UOB||Samsung Pay supports NFC and Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) payment in retail stores|
Bank-Based Mobile Wallet
DBS PayLah! is an e-wallet app that allows users to perform transactions such as funds transfer, NETS payment, QR code payments, bill payments, and other in-app and online purchases.
To sign up for it, you need a DBS/POSB digibank account (for personal or joint-alternate accounts only).
If you are a Singaporean or permanent resident without a DBS/POSB deposit account, you need to have a MyInfo account to authenticate yourself to allow retrieval of financial data for registration.
Additionally, you will also need the following:
- A Singapore registered mobile number; and
- A device with iOS version 10 and above or Android version 4.4 and above.
OCBC Pay Anyone
OCBC Pay Anyone allows OCBC customers to send money to anyone and pay for meals and taxi rides, among other things.
Users can also request for money via a personalised QR code.
To use the OCBC Pay Anyone app, you need an OCBC online banking account, OCBC savings or current account and a supported smartphone (with iOS 10 and above or Android version 4.1 and above).
Find out more about DBS PayLah! and OCBC Pay Anyone right here!
UOB Mighty allows you to bank with UOB, make payments on the go through PayNow and QR Pay, and redeem rewards as well.
You can pay more than 25,000 merchant outlets such as Popular, ComfortDelGro taxi, Topman, G2000 with QR PAY.
To bank with UOB Mighty, you need to be a customer with UOB by having any of the following:
- Current or savings account(s)
- Fixed or structured deposit(s)
- Investment account(s) – High Yield, Wealth Premium, CPF Investment, Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) and unit trust(s)
- Credit card(s)
- CashPlus or any other loan(s)
Furthermore, your device must be able to support UOB Mighty (devices to have iOS 10 or higher or Android version 6.0 or higher).
NETSPay is a mobile app that allows users to make digital payments via DBS, POSB, OCBC and UOB NETS bank cards.
Think of it as a digital version of your NETS card.
With the NETSPay app, you can simply tap or scan with your mobile phone to pay (supported on Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled Android handsets only).
One major benefit of NETSPay is that don’t need to input your PIN (Personal Identification Number) for transactions S$100 and below.
With NETSPay Prepaid Wallet, you can also perform peer transfers and send electronic gifts such as e-ang baos!
NETSPay app works with iPhone 5s and above, and with iOS 9 or higher. For Android, NFC-enabled phones with Android 6.0 and above are needed.
Non-Bank-Based Mobile Wallet
Alipay is China’s most widely used third-party online payment app.
Its primary product is the digital wallet, Alipay Wallet, which allows customers to conduct transactions directly from their mobile devices.
To use Alipay, however, you need a Chinese bank account and a Chinese bank card.
Alipay can be used on ComfortDelGro taxis, and at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore Zoo, and Universal Studios Singapore, among other places.
The EZ-Link card was the very first contactless stored value card introduced in Singapore for public transport use.
Now with the EZ-Link Wallet, which resides within the EZ-Link app, users can make payments at retail outlets in Singapore by scanning an SG QR code or in Japan at an Alipay Connect-enabled merchant.
You can also earn EZ-Link rewards points for your digital wallet transactions.
FavePay is a cashless mobile payment feature on the Fave app. It doesn’t store any money in-app, unlike its peers.
Users can receive cashback or discounts when you use FavePay to pay selected merchants with the FavePay QR code.
You can link up your Fave app to pay for merchants using your credit or debit card, or GrabPay.
With GrabPay, you can earn up to four GrabRewards points for every dollar spent.
You can use GrabPay for in-store purchases by scanning the GrabPay QR code and also pay for Grab rides and GrabFood deliveries.
In addition, GrabPay allows you to go Dutch without the need to use physical cash to split bills.
There’s also the GrabPay Card, which can be used just like a debit card at places that accept Mastercard (which is almost at every single place).
To top it all off, each GrabPay transaction earns you GrabRewards points that you can use to redeem rewards.
Singtel Dash prides itself in being Singapore’s first all-in-one mobile payments solution.
It allows you to make online and in-store purchases, both locally and globally, pay using the app for public transport in Singapore, send money to countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Singtel Dash also allows you to send money to your friends locally.
To sign up for Singtel Dash, you need a valid Singapore registered mobile number and be a Singapore citizen, permanent resident, or foreigner with an Employment Pass, S Pass or Work Permit.
Just like Alipay, WeChat Pay is also one of the top players in China’s mobile payment industry.
If you wish to open a WeChat Pay account, you need a Chinese bank account and a Chinese bank card.
In Singapore, WeChat Pay can be used onboard ComfortDelGro taxis, and at 7-Eleven, Cold Storage, Giant, Guardian, and so on.
On top of those e-wallet apps listed above, there are also other mobile wallet players available that readers can check out:
Gadget-Based Mobile Wallet
These type of mobile wallets don’t store e-money but enable you to park your credit and debit cards in a virtual wallet.
Apple Pay was one of the first mobile payment operators to be launched here in 2016, even before its competitors Samsung Pay and Google Pay did.
Apple Pay works with your Apple devices and allows you to add your credit and debit cards to the Wallet to pay for purchases.
You can also link up your Singtel Dash Visa virtual card and pay merchants via Apple Pay.
Google Pay allows you to pay for purchases using your credit and debit cards.
It also allows people to send money to anyone via PayNow (only works if you send through an OCBC bank account at the moment; DBS/POSB and Standard Chartered are going to be added soon).
Google Pay rewards you when you pay for stuff as well.
To use Google Pay for in-store payments, you have to ensure that your device supports NFC and Host Card Emulation (HCE) functions.
Huawei Pay was just launched here in April 2020.
It allows you to make payments with your Huawei or Honor devices by adding your bank cards.
Devices that support Huawei Pay are:
- Huawei Mate Xs, Mate X, Mate 30, Mate 30 Pro Porsche Design Mate 30 RS, Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Porsche Design Mate 20 RS, Porsche Design Mate RS, Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, Porsche Design Mate 10, Mate 9, Mate 9 Pro, Porsche Design Mate 9
- Huawei P40, P40 Pro, P40 Pro+, P30, P30 Pro, P20, P20 Pro, P10, P10 Plus
- Honor 30 Pro+, 30, 30s, View30 Pro, 10, View10, 9, 8 Pro
Right now, ICBC Singapore is the only bank supported by the app.
Samsung Pay is a mobile payment service that enables the use of both credit and debit cards to make purchases. It was launched in Singapore on 16 June 2016.
You can add your loyalty cards to Samsung Pay as well.
Every transaction you make using the app earns you up to 30 Samsung rewards points, which you can use to redeem rewards and win prizes.
Samsung Pay uses the Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) and NFC technologies to make mobile payments more accessible to both merchants and consumers.
The devices that support Samsung Pay are:
- Samsung Galaxy S20/S20+/S20 Ultra 5G, Z Flip, Fold, Note10/10+, S10e/S10/S10+/S10 Lite, Note9, S9/S9+, Note8, S8/S8+, S7/S7 Edge, Note5, S6 Edge+, A51, A80, A70, A9/A7 (2018), A8 Star, A8/A8+ (2018), A5/A7 (2017), A5/A7 (2016), A9 Pro (2016), J7 Pro
- Galaxy Watch Active2, Galaxy Watch Active, Galaxy Watch, Gear Sport and Gear S3
Samsung said that new flagship devices will be Samsung Pay compatible.
Best Credit Cards To Use With Your E-Wallet Apps
If you don’t own any credit cards now but would like to get the best one to link up with the e-wallet apps, we’ve got you covered as well!
Head over to Seedly Reviews to find out what kind of credit cards are available in Singapore and choose your favourite out of ’em!