Making Sense of Dash, DBS PayLah, GrabPay, Liquid Pay, AliPay, FavePay & Other Cashless Payments

favepay alipay grabpay singapore

As Singapore continues to try to turn itself into a cashless society, Singaporeans grapple with the problem of having too many choices.

Unlike people in China who mostly use only WeChat Pay and Alipay, in Singapore the market is split between numerous e-wallets, with new ones popping up every now and then.

What makes the problem worse is that there are different ways of credit and a plethora of QR codes. Some work like a mobile wallet, while others are linked to your bank account or credit card.

The good thing is that in the near future, NETS has unified the QR codes of major banks. For now, let’s take a look at some of the more popular mobile wallet options right now and see whether they’re actually worth using.


Cashless payments – Which do you need to top up?

Cashless payment modes are basically split into two categories: mobile wallets and e-payments connected to bank accounts.

Mobile wallets Connected to bank accounts
Singtel Dash FavePay
DBS PayLah UOB Mighty
GrabPay OCBC PayAnyone
Liquid Pay

To use a mobile wallet, you have to top up with money using a credit card or debit card before you can use it to spend. When your e-wallet runs out of money, you have to top it up again. Most of the mobile wallets come with an auto top-up option. DBS PayLah, GrabPay, Singtel Dash, Ali Pay and Liquid Pay are mobile wallets.

For e-payments that are connected to bank accounts, you don’t have to top up the account. Payments are debited from your linked bank account or credit card. UOB Mighty, OCBC PayAnyone and FavePay are some e-payment options that directly link to your credit card or debit card.

Thankfully, all these cashless payment apps read QR codes so you simply need to launch the respective app, login and scan the QR codes near the merchants’ cash registers to pay.

Let’s go into these cashless payment options in detail. First, the mobile wallets:

Singtel Dash: How to use Dash and who is it for?

Singtel Dash is a e-wallet, so once you download the Singtel Dash app and log in, you can top up your dash account. It also works as a virtual visa account, so the account comes with its own unique 16-digit Dash Visa virtual account number and security code.

Singtel Dash is now worth considering because it can used in Thailand in addition to Singapore, making it more attractive to Singaporeans who frequently travel there. They’ve apparently already got 1.6 million Thai merchants signed up.

Locally, they’ve got quite a few partner merchants including:

  • Groceries/essentials: FairPrice, Redmart, Shengsiong, 7-11, Cheers, Watsons
  • Commute: Comfort, CitiCab, Prime Taxis, Ryde, buses and MRT
  • Food: Food Republic, KFC, Koi, BreadTalk, Itacho Sushi

The app also lets you transfer money to another account, remit money overseas and, if you have an NFC-enabled phone, tap in and out of train and bus rides.

Dash’s key strength is the fact that they’ve got lots of merchants that you probably already patronise for your daily needs, from your weekly grocery runs and your daily commute to your frequent food court meals.

DBS PayLah: How to use DBS PayLah and who is it for?

DBS PayLah is the best-known of the local banks’ e-wallets, possibly because of its catchy name.

You have to top up your PayLah account in order to pay with it. In addition to making payments via QR Code, the app lets you send and receive funds to and from other people even if they don’t have DBS/POSB accounts. You can also pay your bills, shop online and request funds, which is very useful when it comes to splitting the bill with cheapskates who always avoid paying up.

When it comes to using the e-wallet to pay for stuff when you’re out and about, DBS PayLah has a wide network of partner merchants, including the following:

  • Convenience stores: Buzz, Cheers, iECON
  • Cinemas: Cathay, Filmgarde
  • Food: Bakerzin, Beard Papa, Cedele, Pepper Lunch, Sakae Sushi, Crystal Jade, Coffee Bean, Subway
  • Hawker centres: Changi Village Hawker Centre, Old Airport Road Food Centre, People’s Park Food Centre, Geylang Serai Market, Amoy Street Food Centre, Maxwell Food Centre
  • School canteens: NUS, NTU, SMU, Ngee Ann Poly, SUSS, SIT, Singapore Poly, Nanyang Poly, Republic Poly, Temasek Poly, ITE West/Central/East
  • Shopping: Adidas, Aldo, Chanel, Converse, Decathlon, G2000, Giordano, Forever 21, Harvey Norman, Muji, Pet Lovers Centre, Popular Book Co

As you can see, the one glaring omission here is groceries. That being said, they’ve got school canteens, hawker centres and a good crop of F&B and retail merchants on their side. That makes them one of the better payment wallets to use for day-to-day spending, especially if you’re a tertiary student.

Paylah is also offering customers $5 for each friend they recruit. All you have to go is get your friends to sign up using your unique Paylah referral code. You’re entitled to a maximum of $50. The promotion ends 31 Dec 2018.

Confused about PayLah, PayAnyone, and PayNow? Read this article: PayNow vs PayLah vs Pay Anyone – What’s the Difference & How to Use Them?

GrabPay: How to use GrabPay and who is it for?

Grabpay Singapore Hawker

If you’re a serial Grab commuter, you might already have used GrabPay. So what is GrabPay exactly? Is it just a complement to the existing Grab ride hailing service?

Well, despite what its name might suggest, GrabPay is not meant to be used only on Grab-related payments. They also have a number of partner merchants who accept payment using the GrabPay app. You have to top up your GrabPay account in order to use it.

However, honestly, the range of partner merchants isn’t great and is mostly limited to small neighbourhood businesses. If you’re serious about using an e-wallet for most of your transactions, you will definitely need to download another e-wallet app for day-to-day use.

Here’s what you can use GrabPay for:

  • Grab rides
  • GrabFood deliveries
  • Selected hawker centres and cafes
  • Food: BreadTalk (Novena Square/Nex), Umi Sushi (Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Mount Alvernia Hospital, AMK Hub), Salted Caramel, Tuk Tuk Cha (Bishan, Nex), QQ Rice (Amk, Nex, Square2)
  • Shopping: Zenith Optics, ALP Audio and Video Electromart, Fluffy Petcare, Benoi Mobile Accessories
  • Hair/Beauty: House of Traditional Javanese Massage (Thomson, Goldhill), W Nails Spa, JasonSally Hairdressers, Lavisha’s Beauty

Liquid Pay: How to use Liquid Pay and who is it for?

Liquid Pay is a much smaller player in the scene, but we’re seeing more and more of that bright blue logo nowadays. Liquid Group is a payments technology company that works with financial institutions and telcos to enhance mobile payment capabilities.

Amidst the competitive market, it seems that Liquid Pay has an uphill battle acquiring customers from other mobile wallets that boasts more integration with other uses like GrabPay and DBS PayLah. Yet, given the circumstances, Liquid Pay is surprisingly widely accepted at food and beverage outlets. You may use Liquid Pay at:

  • Restaurants and cafes: Artease, Bar 8, Fatboy’s The Burger Bar, Highlander Espresso Bar, Kay Lee, Ramen Matsuri, SaladStop!, etc.
  • Selected hawker centres 
  • Selected retail outlets: AS Optics, Zen Yu Pacific Pte Ltd, etc.

See the full list of participating merchants with Liquid Pay.

Having covered the mobile wallets, let’s look at cashless payments that link to your bank account or credit card.

FavePay: How to use FavePay and who is it for?

FavePay is the new kid on the block, but they’ve been growing aggressively. Fave Pay is now available not only in Singapore but also in Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Jakarta, Bali and other Malaysian and Indonesian locations.

The main thing that sets FavePay apart from the rest is that they offer generous deals and cash back at many of the merchants on their list, and you can even use the app to search for deals nearby. Some of the discounts can be over 50%, and you can also buy vouchers Groupon-style. In fact, Fave Pay’s parent company Fave acquired the Groupon business in 2017.

They have over 600 partner merchants in Singapore, including the following:

  • Food: Arteatstiq, Each a Cup, Wafuken, Andersen’s Ice Cream, CharcoalThai
  • Beauty/massage: Icon Shunji Matsuo, Coslab, LifeSpa, Mirage Aesthetic, Jean Yip Hairdressing
  • Kids: KidZania, Genius R Us, Little Wheel Werks
  • Entertainment: 7th Heaven KTC and Cafe, The Escape Artist, Fat Cat Arcade, Taoz Ceramics Studio, Bicycle Hut, Cathay Cineplexes

Rather than shopping and retail, Fave Pay is focused on dining and experiences, and their merchant selection reflects that. If you were formerly a Groupon fan, you’ll find FavePay similarly addictive.

Alipay: How to use Alipay and who is it for?

More retailers are now displaying “We accept Alipay” signs, but these are mostly targeted at people from China who are visiting or living in Singapore rather than Singaporeans themselves.

Technically, you can open an Alipay account in Singapore, but you need a Chinese mobile number and credit card in order to transfer funds to your Alipay mobile wallet. If you’re a Singaporean who lives in China, you’ll be able to top up your Alipay account and use it in both China and Singapore.

Some Singaporeans get friends from China to help them top up their Alipay accounts. That’s one way to do it if you are planning a trip to China soon.

The following merchants in Singapore accept payment using Alipay:

  • Commute: ComfortDelGro, Prime Taxis
  • Tourist attractions: Universal Studios, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore Zoo
  • Shopping: Metro, Robinsons
  • Restaurants: Selected cafes and hawker centres

As you can see, the merchant selection is targeted at Chinese tourists.

OCBC PayAnyone: How to use OCBC PayAnyone and who is it for?

OCBC PayAnyone works in the same way as DBS PayLah. The main difference however, is that while you can still register an account with DBS PayLah without a DBS/POSB account, OCBC Pay Anyone is connected to your bank account so you need an OCBC account to use Pay Anyone. The transactions are then credited to and deducted from OCBC savings or current accounts. You don’t need to top up credits.

The good thing is that the recipient you are sending money to via Pay Anyone doesn’t need the app to receive the funds. They will receive an email link whereby they can click and key in their bank information to receive the money. Although, we think it’s a bit of a redundant step to install a separate app for that purpose if you already have the OCBC Bank app, which has PayNow function.

However, if you are already banking with OCBC, you will like having the option of using OCBC PayAnyone to directly pay from your OCBC savings or current accounts.

  • Restaurants and cafes: Paradise Dynasty, Crystal Jade, Awfully Chocolate, ALT Pizza, Chateraise
  • Gyms: Amore Fitness, Asterspring, Browhaus, Anytime Fitness, Fitness First
  • Retail stores: Adidas, FANCL, Giordano, etc.
  • Taxis: ComfortDelgro taxis
  • Selected hawker centres, coffee shops and school canteens

UOB Mighty: How to use UOB Mighty and who is it for?

Seems like all three local banks have a different way of doing things. DBS PayLah is a mobile wallet, OCBC PayAnyone is linked to your bank account while UOB Mighty works by linking to your Visa credit card, Mastercard debit card or UOB ATM card. After “digitising” your card, you can use your NFC-enabled phone to pay by tapping the phone rather than the credit card. Essentially, it’s like having your cards within the app.

With the QR codes of major banks being unified by NETS, the merchants that you can pay at with UOB Mighty is generally the same as OCBC PayAnyone and DBS PayLah.

  • Restaurants and cafes: Paradise Dynasty, Crystal Jade, Awfully Chocolate, ALT Pizza, Chateraise
  • Gyms: Amore Fitness, Asterspring, Browhaus, Anytime Fitness, Fitness First
  • Retail stores: Popular, Comfort, Topman, G2000, and FOX
  • Taxis: ComfortDelgro taxis
  • Selected hawker centres, coffee shops and school canteens

Which e-wallets do you currently use? Share your recommendations in the comments!