facebookPayNow, PayLah, Pay Anyone, What's the Difference?



comparison between paynow, paylah, pay anyone, how to register and use the different funds transfer services

PayNow, PayLah, Pay Anyone, What's the Difference?

profileJacqueline Yan

“How much is the bill? I PayNow you later ah…”

Pretty sure you’ve heard or said that before when splitting the bill after eating out with your friends!

Source: Giphy

Or you might have also felt the shock when one of your friends said that they don’t have PayLah, PayNow or Pay Anyone.

And the worst part? They don’t know the difference between the three!

Don’t worry, we’re here to save the day!

Disclaimer: We are not sponsored by any of the services mentioned, we’re just trying to make life easier for everyone. 

TL;DR: PayNow vs PayLah vs Pay Anyone, What’s the Difference?

We know there are different options available, but don’t worry, we’re here to break down the differences for you!

 PayNowPayLahPay Anyone
Service TypeFunds transferMobile WalletFunds transfer
Who Can Register and Use? Bank of China, Citibank, DBS/POSB, HSBC, ICBC, Maybank, OCBC, Standard Chartered and UOB customersAll Singaporeans & Permanent ResidentsOCBC customers
Potential RecipientsPeers and participating merchantsPeers and participating merchantsPeers and participating merchants
Supports PayNowYesYesYes
Information Needed when Transferring or Making PaymentMobile number, NRIC number, QR codeMobile number, QR codeMobile number, email address, QR code


What Is PayNow?

Remember how you used to need a person’s bank account number before you can transfer them money?

You’ll either have to go through the tedious process of adding them as a payee through your bank’s internet or mobile banking service, or physically go to an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) to make the transfer?

Gone are those days!!!

PayNow is a free funds-transfer service which allows you to transfer money with just your recipient’s mobile number or NRIC/FIN number or a QR code. So easy, right?

One of my favourite features of PayNow?

It doesn’t matter which bank you and your recipient have an account with as long as it’s one of the nine participating banks in Singapore:

  • Bank of China
  • Citibank
  • HSBC
  • ICBC
  • Maybank
  • OCBC
  • Standard Chartered
  • UOB

Your funds are transferred through FAST (Fast And Secure Transfers) and are almost instantaneous, so no more waiting to verify if the money went through!

Who Can I Transfer Funds to With PayNow?

PayNow launched as a peer-to-peer service but it has since extended PayNow Corporate to corporates, businesses, Singapore Government agencies, associations and societies too!

Apart from paying your friends for your dinner bills or movie tickets, you can now use PayNow for participating merchants such as hawkers, retail shops, and even taxis!

It’s always a two-way street, so PayNow also allows you to receive payments from participating merchants!

While it’s not common practice yet, PayNow Corporate actually supports salary crediting and insurance claims payouts.

Who remembered getting their SG Bonus through PayNow? 

How to Register for PayNow?

Hang on, don’t get too excited!

Before you can start transferring or receiving money, you’ll first need to register and do a quick set up for PayNow.

Don’t worry, there’s no paperwork to complete as you can simply register through your bank’s online banking or mobile banking services.

Even though the nine participating banks all have their own designs and services, simply look out for the PayNow option under their respective “payment and transfer” or “more services” tab.

Once you’ve found the tab, you simply have to decide two things to link to PayNow:

  • Your preferred account with the bank
  • Your mobile number or NRIC number

Simply follow the on-screen instructions after deciding those two above, and voila, you’re ready to receive or send some money!

How to Use PayNow?

Trust me when I say that sending money using PayNow is really easy!

It also takes less than 5 minutes since all you have to do is:

  • Log in to your bank’s mobile bank or online banking service
  • Navigate to PayNow
  • Enter your recipient’s mobile number or NRIC number (peer-to-peer) OR
  • Enter your recipient’s Unique Entity Number (UEN) or scan their PayNow QR (for merchants)
  • Enter the amount you need to pay and confirm

Psst… Most of the banks now have the PayNow feature on the home screen of their mobile banking service, so it’s really even faster.

Although, your recipient must already be registered for PayNow to receive their funds.

DBS PayLah

What Is DBS PayLah?

DBS PayLah, is a mobile wallet, much like the beloved GrabPay, that allows you to make payments to peers and merchants.

But you’ll first need to top up your PayLah! wallet before you can make any payments, there’s also an Auto Debit feature that you can enable to save you the trouble of topping up your wallet all the time.

Good news? You don’t have to be a DBS/POSB account holder to use PayLah!

Who Can I Transfer Funds to With PayLah?

It goes without saying that you can transfer or request funds to your peers and make payments to merchants by scanning their QR code.

Additional perks of the DBS PayLah includes the ability to pay common bills such as hospital bills, taxes, HDB housing loan instalments, telco bills, and more.

Also, PayLah is now supporting PayNow so yes, you can send money to someone who doesn’t have PayLah, they just need to be registered for PayNow.

How to Register for PayLah?

First and foremost, download the PayLah app to your smartphone.

If you’re an existing DBS customer, you’ll just have to link your DBS/POSB bank account to PayLah and you’re good to go.

Don’t worry if you don’t have an account with DBS/POSB though, registration is also pretty straightforward since you can simply allow DBS to retrieve the necessary information from your MyInfo profile.

Of course, you’ll still need to verify some details, enter your employment details and tax residency status. But once you’re done with that, choose a password for your wallet and poof, you’re good to go!

How to Use DBS PayLah?

Making payments with DBS PayLah is pretty straightforward as well with only a few steps:

  • Log in to DBS PayLah!
  • Enter your recipient’s mobile number (peer-to-peer) OR
  • Select the billing organisation and enter your bill reference number (bill payment)
  • Enter the amount you need to pay and confirm

Currently, DBS has also integrated merchants such as Golden Village and SISTIC, where you can launch their page and make your purchase through the PayLah app.

DBS customers can also set up express checkout with participating merchants, such as Carousell, AXS and more.

OCBC Pay Anyone

What is OCBC Pay Anyone?

OCBC Pay Anyone is kinda OCBC being extra since it’s a separate mobile app for their customers to use PayNow and make NETS QR purchases.

A bill splitting feature is also built into OCBC Pay Anyone, where you can upload an image of the receipt and decide if the bill is split equally.

One last perk for OCBC customers, you can use the OCBC Pay Anyone app to withdraw money, simply by scanning the QR code displayed on the ATM machine!

I suppose OCBC is being extra for a good reason? It’s a feature I find myself appreciating since I no longer have to take my card out.

Who Can I Transfer Funds to With Pay Anyone?

Just like PayNow, you can use Pay Anyone to transfer funds to your peers and participating PayNow merchants.

How to Register for Pay Anyone?

Before you register for Pay Anyone, you’ll first need to register with PayNow.

Of course, you’ll need to download the Pay Anyone app to your smartphone as well.

But once you’re done with that, all you have to do is launch the Pay Anyone app and use your OCBC Online Banking Access code to do a one-time setup.

Simple as that!

How to Use OCBC Pay Anyone?

Using OCBC Pay Anyone is pretty much the same as using PayNow but in a separate app:

  • Launch and log in to OCBC Pay Anyone
  • Enter your recipient’s mobile number or email address (peer-to-peer) OR
  • Scan your recipient’s PayNow QR (for merchants)
  • Enter the amount you need to pay and confirm

A tiny thing that bugs me is that I couldn’t find the feature to pay a merchant using their UEN on OCBC Pay Anyone. But all’s well as you can still log in to the regular OCBC mobile banking service and make the payment from there.

What If I Transferred Funds to the Wrong Person?

I still remember being nervous when using PayNow to transfer funds to someone who wasn’t in my contact list and I had to type out their number manually…

Thankfully, I have never transferred to the wrong person!

But things happen sometimes, so what do you do if you accidentally transferred funds to the wrong person?

Since it’s the most common method, there’s a chance that you might transfer to the wrong mobile number.

One of the fastest solutions you can try to retrieve your money is to contact them directly to get your money back!

But if for some reason, they are not willing to transfer your funds back to you, do contact your bank’s hotline directly to report the wrong transfer and take steps to reverse your transaction.

Guys, it is a criminal offence to hold or use funds that do not belong to you. So if you ever received funds that were not meant for you, please return it back to the original owner!

About Jacqueline Yan
Full-time coffee nerd playing the personal finance game to feed her insatiable wanderlust.
You can contribute your thoughts like Jacqueline Yan here.

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