In the hope of becoming the world’s first smart nation, Singapore is giving great impetus to digital payments. We compared the features and user experience of several payment apps in Singapore. We picked out 5 top apps of different kinds. DBS Paylah and Singtel Dash tops in prepaid wallet (to purchase, user needs to top up money to the e-wallet first). NetsPay and OCBC Pay Anyone are the best “pay from connected bank account” kind of apps. Youtrip is a rising star of overseas payment and currency exchange. In this article, we will introduce the 5 recommended payment apps.
NetsPay focused on micropayments. Users can add DBS Bank/POSB, HSBC, Maybank, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank or UOB cards to NetsPay. NetsPay users can scan QR code to pay, pay on Nets terminals and make in-app payments. User can add up to 10 bank cards to NetsPay account; credit cards are not supported.
In September 2018, NetsPay co-operated with UnionPay. This enables NetsPay users to make cross-border payments at over 7.5 million UnionPay QR code merchants. The acceptance points are distributed in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand. Users can also use the near-field communication (NFC) enabled smartphones to make payments. Ther are 12 million UnionPay QuickPass contactless acceptance points.
DBS Paylah! screen
Users can make online payments as well as offline payments, send money to friends and request money from friends. Users can sign up with DBS/POSB bank ID directly. The mobile wallet has a daily transaction limit of S$999DBS Paylah! partners with some big merchants in Singapore, such as Qoo10.sg, Courts and MSIG TravellerShield.
Like NetsPay, DBS Paylah! also cooperates with UnionPay for overseas development. DBS Paylah! users can pay at 10 million UnionPay QR code merchants in 24 countries. The countries include Australia, China, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the United States.
Singtel Dash screen
Standard Chartered Bank and Singtel launched Singtel Dash. Singtel is one of the largest telecommunications carriers in Singapore. Users can scan pay, top up mobile, transfer money to their friends, pay Singtel bills and make online payments through Singtel Dash.
Singtel launched Via in October 2018. Via combines Singtel Dash with AIS Global Pay and Rabbit Line Pay. Singtel users can therefore make payment in Thailand now. The exchange rate is flexible and competitive.
OCBC Pay Anyone
OCBC Pay Anyone screen
OCBC Pay Anyone is not a wallet, but a mobile payment app. Users will need to link an OCBC online banking account, an OCBC savings or current account to OCBC Pay Anyone. Users can scan the NETS QR or PayNow QR to pay merchants and transfer funds to friends. OCBC Pay Anyone also allows the user to send money directly to any bank account in Singapore. They just need to enter the recipient’s mobile number. The daily transfer limit on OCBC Pay Anyone is S$1,000.
Youtrip was launched in August 2018. Youtrip cooperated with Mastercard and EZ-Link. Users can make in-app currency exchange 24/7 for 10 major currencies (SGD, USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CHF, HKD, NZD, SEK, AUD). Overseas travallers can use Youtrip to make payments at merchants who accept Mastercard. Cash withdrawal feature is also available in Youtrip.
Overall comparison of the 5 apps
Comparison table for the top 5 payment apps
1. QR code payment means the user can scan merchant QR code to pay or show payment QR code to merchants to pay.
2. Request payment means to ask for a certain amount of money from a friend.
3. In-app payment means to pay online in the app.
4. Cross-border payment means to make overseas payment using the local currencies. The app will help exchange the currency accordingly.
5. Transfer means to send funds to a friend. DBS Paylah! allows user to transfer money to non-DBS/POSB users.
6. Auto debit: funds will be deducted from your linked bank account automatically when your wallet balance is insufficient.
7. Ang Bao means “red packet”, i.e. to send money as a gift to a friend in specific festivals.
8. Top up means to transfer money to e-wallet from bank accounts
9. Promotion means sales campaign. For example, to offer an S$5 coupon, etc.
10. Split bill means to share the bill to a friend to split.
11. Withdrawal means to cash out funds from e-wallet to bank account.
Major data for the top 5 payment apps
Sources: Strait Times (1, 2, 3), CNA, DBS (1, 2), OCBC (1, 2), Singtel, Tech Crunch, Business Insider
Onboarding table for the top 5 payment apps
Here is the registration flow for the apps:
Choose the most suitable payment app
None of the apps allows guest login. The onboarding flow for all the 5 apps are rather complicated, but NetsPay flow is the simplest.
The 5 payment apps have their own advantages and disadvantages. Most of the apps provide promotions to users as well as fund transfer among friends. DBS Paylah! even allows users to send payment to non-DBS/POSB customers.
If you need to make cross-border remittance, Singtel Dash would be the best choice. Singtel Dash supports overseas remittance to Philippines, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and China. It also allows users to top up and check their EZ-link balance. Besides, users can pay for their daily commute on trains and buses using Singtel Dash. This is convenient for daily life. Users can also top up Singtel prepaid account in-app.
DBS Paylah! and Singtel Dash users need to top up their prepaid wallets before purchasing. It can help control budget, but some users might find the top up step troublesome. There is an auto-debit feature for DBS Paylah! users. The money will transfer from linked bank account to DBS Paylah! wallet automatically if there is insufficient balance in the wallet. With this feature, there will never be a run-out-of-cash moment.
If you are travelling overseas to Paris, Hong Kong, Bangkok, etc., Youtrip will be a good choice. Youtrip provides transactions in more than 150 currencies for 0 transaction fees. There is an in-app money exchanger service for 10 currencies. You can make overseas payments at fair FX rate at any Master card accepted points.
There are daily transaction limit and wallet balance limit for each wallet (see above “Major data for the top 5 payment apps” table ). So the mobile payment is currently suitable for micropayments only. Singapore users would hope for a unified QR code with all the payment methods integrated. This will facilitate the cash-less payment a lot.
The mobile payment market in Singapore is becoming crowded. There are already 42 active mobile payment players in this island country. Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) launched the Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR) in September 2018. SGQR is a unified QR code with 27 payment schemes integrated, which makes the QR code payment for both merchants and users easier. With more and more mobile payment players joining the battlefield, we can expect further consolidations in the future.