It has almost been a year since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong first spoke about Singapore becoming a Smart Nation. And within this Smart Nation initiative, achieving a cashless economy is one of the focus areas.
Thanks to this push towards becoming a cashless society, we’ve seen a myriad of e-wallet options and other contactless payments that purport to make our retail experience more convenient and seamless.
But with so many options available, and so many terms being thrown around, some of us might need a little help figuring it all out.
To help you shop smarter, here is our Dummies Guide to Understanding E-wallets: the Mobile Wallet edition.
What Is An e-Wallet?
An e-wallet is a way to carry your credit or debit card information in its digital form. This is extremely convenient as we can now have that information on a mobile device like a smartphone.
So instead of pulling out your wallet to pay for lunch, you can use your smartphone or smartwatch to do so!
Some of you might be thinking, “Ah… So an e-wallet is like Apple Pay for Apple devices, and either Google Pay or Samsung Payfor Android users?”
These options are a type of e-wallet. More specifically, they are mobile payment alternatives where your smartphone functions as a credit/debit card.
So What Is A Mobile Wallet?
A mobile wallet usually comes in the form of a mobile application that requires you to either connect your bank account or utilise some form of digital payment to top up before using. Essentially, it works on the same premise as an EZ-Link or NETs cash card.
Users of mobile wallets will appreciate the ability to better track one’s expenses, but some might find topping up the account a bit of a hassle. However, many of these mobile wallets also allow you to set up an auto-debit function when you link your bank account, thereby eliminating this problem.
A good example of a mobile wallet that most of us would be familiar with is DBS PayLah!
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Although they might sound similar, PayLah! offers much more than PayNow.
PayNow is a unified mobile payment system that lets you transfer funds amongst seven major banks with just a mobile or IC number.
PayLah! on the other hand, is a mobile wallet that allows you to send and receive money. You can do this via mobile numbers, QR codes, or payment links. However, both users have to be using the PayLah! app. You can also scan and pay at merchantswith NETs terminals or the PayLah! QR code.
Some other useful features include:
- Auto Debit function (funds will be deducted from a designated bank account)
- pay bills for over 44 billing organisations
- buy travel insurance
- purchase GV movie tickets
- send eAng Baos
Android and Apple users also have the option to access PayLah! via fingerprint authentication or Touch ID (on selected devices only).
GrabPay can be used for Grab rides as well as its food delivery service GrabFood. You’ll have to download GrabFood separately though.
There’s no Auto Debit function, but you can link a credit/debit card to either top up your wallet or make payment via GrabPay.
Similar to PayLah! you can send and receive money via QR codes or a payment link.
The best thing about GrabPay is that you earn GrabRewards points on your rides, when you order a meal on GrabFood, and when you make in-store purchases with GrabPay. These points can eventually be exchanged for special offers and vouchers via their rewards page.
There’s also a tier system that rewards regular users with perks like lesser points required to redeem rides, accelerated GrabRewards points earned, and priority bookings.
Users of the Dash app will appreciate the convenience of topping up the mobile wallet, especially if you’re also a Singtel customer. You can choose to top up the wallet:
- By charging it to your Singtel Postpaid bill
- Via your bank account through e-Nets
- Via your credit/debit card.
You will also be given a Dash Visa Virtual Account which can be used anywhere that accepts Visa payWave.
Any amount that you charge to this account is simply deducted from your Dash mobile wallet.
There are also periodic deals available through the app like discounts on dining and shopping, cashback on travel insurance, and even free parking.
New Mobile Wallets Coming Through
Whether you’ve adopted these convenient mobile-based payment solutions as part of your #minimalist life, Razer’s recent announcement of Razer Pay has definitely renewed interest in the realm of mobile wallet applications.
And if you’re wondering why Razer sounds so familiar… Yes, it’s Singapore’s very own gaming-oriented company that has been pushing our e-gaming scene to the next level.
Fans of Razer will need to be patient though as Razer Pay is only available in Malaysia for now. But word on the street is Razer Pay will be launched in Singapore later this year.
EZ-Link, in conjunction with Mastercard and You Technologies Group, recently released YouTrip, a multi-currency mobile wallet allows users to pay in more than 150 currencies when shopping overseas or online.
You will also receive a YouTrip MasterCard for overseas transactions (wherever MasterCard is accepted).
Best of all, you do not have to pay any currency conversion or transaction fees that are typically charged by:
- Money changers
- Online currency conversion
- Cross-border payments
So if you’re planning a shopping spree in Paris or wish to pay for your meals at London’s finest restaurants, you can use your YouTrip MasterCard and not have to worry about bringing stacks of cash just to avoid paying extra.
Comparison Of Mobile Wallets Available In Singapore
Currently, the most widely used mobile wallets in Singapore are DBS PayLah!, GrabPay, and Singtel Dash.
But for the benefit of Chinese tourists or those with a China-based bank account and mobile number, we’ve also included WeChat Pay and AliPay for comparison where applicable:
There’s really no clear winner here as each mobile wallet will benefit you depending on your needs. But hey, at least now you can make a more informed choice.
Have a favourite mobile wallet that you think everyone should adopt?
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