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The pros and cons of going cashless

You signal to the waiter and said, “Bill please!” The waiter turns up moments later with the bill and you paid with your credit card. Your friends thank you and decides to pay you back in cash or transfer via online banking.

Not wanting a stack of notes or coins bursting your luxury wallet, you ask them to transfer via online banking. But wait, there’s no need for that. We have PayNow, DBS PayLah!, OCBC Pay Anyone, and the list goes on.

In his National Day Rally speech on Aug 20, 2017, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted Singaporean’s highly connected lifestyle and digital literacy against their unwillingness to go digital when it comes to payment.

This is all boiled down to the many different payment schemes and systems available which creates confusion, hence he made a call to the industry to “simplify and integrate” in a bid to move into a cashless society as we move into a SMART NATION.

So, what exactly are these PayNow, DBS PayLah!, OCBC Pay Anyone, etc. and what are their differences? Let us break it down for you.


What is this

  • A peer-to-peer funds transfer service launched by ABS that allows you to send and receive Singapore Dollar funds via FAST just by using the recipient’s mobile number or Singaporean NRIC/FIN.

  • Participating Banks: Citibank, DBS/POSB, HSBC, Maybank, OCBC, Standard Chartered and UOB


  • To send money, just send via a mobile number to anyone who has setup the PayNow service via your internet banking or mobile banking app. (Note: OCBC Pay Anyone Enhanced feature allows the sender to send money to a PayNow-registered recipient without the need to set up a passcode)

  • To receive money, you just need to register for the PayNow service once and link it to your mobile number and/or Singaporean NRIC/FIN, and the money automatically deposits into your bank account


The only limitation is the features of the service as it can only do funds transfer and receiving

Upcoming exciting features

PayNow users can look forward to paying taxi drivers, hawkers, business owners via scanning QR codes / receiving money from businesses, salary payments, or insurance claims payout by year end








Pay Anyone


What does it do

Allows you to send or receive money from anyone, request funds from friends, make bill payments, shop online, make a donation, etc.

Allows you to send or receive money from anyone, scan to make payment for your NETS purchases via QR code, and ComfortDelGro taxi rides and shopping purchases.

Allows you to commute, send money, top up Singtel Prepaid Account, shop at over 50,000 locations and local e-commerce store, make donation to charity organisations, etc.


Online iBanking and Mobile App

Mobile App

Mobile App


How you can send money

  • Send via mobile number, QR codes and Payment Links

  • Send via mobile number, email address and Facebook ID

  • Send money from your iPhone via iMessage and Android phone via the OCBC Keyboard without switching apps

  • Simply ask Siri to send money to anyone on your contact list

  • Send via mobile number

Who can receive your money

Do not need to be DBS / POSB bank customer

Do not need to be OCBC bank customer or Pay Anyone users

Do not need to be Dash customer

How to request for money

PayLah! users can share Payment Request Link or QR Code with the sender to request

Pay Anyone users can share QR code with the sender to request

Not applicable

Other Benefits

  • Make payment by scanning QR codes via NETS Terminal at over thousands of merchants

  • Make bill payment at over 44 billing organisations

  • Top-up Starhub or M1 mobile pre-paid SIM cards

  • Android phone user can make a donation to over 26 charitable organisations

  • Celebrate with your friends or family by sending an eAng Bao

  • Scan NETS QR code and pay for your hawker meals at Tanjong Pagar Plaza Food Centre

  • Remit money to your loved ones in Philippine, Indonesia, India and China

  • Pay for your Comfort, CityCab and Prime taxi rides with no admin fees involved

  • Make payment at all local e-commerce stores and purchases at retailers like NTUC, Watsons Sheng Siong with your Dash Visa Virtual Account

  • Top up your Singtel Prepaid Account anytime from the app

Current Promotions

  • Pay for your Comfort, CityCab rides with PayLah! and be one of the lucky 60,000 users to get $5 cashback on your first 3 rides

  • Get up to $15 cashback when you scan and make payment via PayLah! at merchants like Cathay Cineplexes, Delifrance, Popular

  • Earn $5 for every friend that you refer to PayLah! and your friend will also get $5 when they successfully register for PayLah!

  • Enjoy $5 cashback on your first transaction made via the app at participating merchants with no minimum spend required. Offer is limited to first 16,000 users

  • Get up to $5 Welcome Top-Up Bonus free for new Dash users

  • Earn up to 5% cashback when you pay via Singtel Dash at Dash merchants

  • Enjoy promotions like Exclusive Qoo10 deals, 1-for-1 BreadTalk Chiffon cakes, and more

  • Enjoy top-up convenience fee waiver on your Singtel Transit NFC SIM’s EZ-link balance


  • Non-existing DBS PayLah! users need to download PayLah! app and register within 14 calendar days to receive their money

  • PayLah! users have to top up the wallet so that they can make payment unless the Auto Debit Feature is enabled so that any shortfall is deducted directly from your DBS / POSB account automatically to remove the hassle of topping up the balance

  • The app only supports iPhone with iOS8 and above Compatible devices, Samsung phones with fingerprint recognition feature running on Android 4.4 Kit Kat

  • To request for money, users need to be a PayNow user to use this service

  • To receive money, you need to enter pre-set passcode provided by the sender and up to 24 hours to collect the money

  • Non-existing Singtel Dash users need to download Singtel Dash app and sign up within 7 days to receive their money

  • You need to go to their flagship stores at Lucky Plaza / City Plaza to register in order to access the transfer or remittance service

  • Remittance Fee ranging from $3 to $16 is chargeable

  • You have to top up your Dash Account for payment via your bank account which requires security token login

With PayNow launched, it does not mean that bank customers have to learn a new way of transferring funds, nor that the existing fund transfer apps will become obsolete. After all, it was meant to complement and not replace the existing e-payment apps, and to make them even easier to use. And the existing e-payment apps and schemes have their functionality and other benefits on top of just peer-to-peer funds transfer.

It seems like we are taking a great leap towards a cashless society, and while moving towards a cashless society seems inevitable, it is not immediate. Especially towards merchants like the wet market, hawker stalls owners, and even small business owners as they have to pay fees when handling credit card and digital transactions which eats into margins.

However, with the new features for PayNow slated to be implemented by year-end of 2017, it seems like the goal to a cashless society is really not far away. But in order for it to be a success, a common QR code that unifies every payment scheme is needed.

For now, I guess most consumers should be happy to have various options which they can complement with PayNow but to truly integrate into a cashless society, PayNow or upcoming apps or schemes (P/S: AliPay is looking to expand to Singapore Banking users and our Razer has also submitted a proposal to build a unified e-payment scheme) should embrace more than just transferring of money, but all forms of relevant services and the top priority is the security of such app.

After all, as a consumer, while it may bring convenience to us, we do not want to see all our personal data stored in one place and seeing it leaked out all at one go, like what happened to the recent 5,400 customers of a reputable insurer. Gone are the days where “Cash is KING” in time to come.

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