Digital payment methods have become a very important part of daily life in the Lion City. It offers convenience and efficiency for both personal and business transactions. Among the most popular options are PayNow and PayLah! which both serve unique purposes. These payment channels also cater to different user needs.

Singaporeans are now preferring cashless transactions so relying on these platforms to manage their finances has become a necessity.

Here’s a guide to help you decide when choosing between PayNow and PayLah!.

What is PayNow?

PayNow is a simple and secure way to transfer money instantly between bank accounts in Singapore.

This platform allows you to send and receive Singapore Dollar funds using a mobile number, NRIC/FIN, or a unique entity number (UEN) for businesses. There’s no need to remember or share bank account numbers.

PayNow uses the same high-security standards as other bank transfers.

What is PayLah!?

This mobile wallet app is provided by DBS Bank. It allows you to enjoy many services beyond transferring money like the following:

  • Send and receive money
  • Pay bills
  • Shop online
  • Order food
  • Book rides
  • Buy movie tickets, etc.

Also Read: Do You Spend with Debit or Credit Cards?

This makes it an all-in-one app for your daily needs. The app allows you to top up your wallet fast manually or through an auto-debit feature linked to your bank account. This payment method can be linked with PayNow so you can send money to PayNow users directly from the app.

What’s the difference between PayNow and PayLah?

Feature PayNow PayLah!
Type of Service Funds transfer Mobile wallet
Availability Available to customers of nine major banks in Singapore Available to anyone with a Singapore-registered mobile number
Registration Register via bank’s online or mobile banking app Download the PayLah! app and register via digibank, Singpass, or MyInfo
Recipients Peers, businesses, and government agencies Peers and participating merchants
Info Required for Transfer Mobile number, NRIC/FIN, UEN, or QR code Mobile number or QR code
Integration Integrated into participating banks’ apps Standalone app, but can link with DBS/POSB accounts
Transaction Limits Up to S$200,000 per day (varies by bank) Up to S$2,000 per day for DBS/POSB customers, S$999 for others
Security Uses bank-level security protocols Uses app-level security protocols
Additional Features Simple peer-to-peer transfers, merchant payments Payments for goods/services, bill payments, booking tickets, rewards
Promotions and Rewards n/a Various promotions, cashback, and rewards
Ease of Use No additional app required, uses existing banking apps Requires downloading and setting up a separate app
QR Code Payments Yes, via PayNow QR Yes, via PayLah! QR and other supported QR codes
Cost Typically no fees for personal transactions May incur fees for certain services
Target Users Users looking for simple, secure bank-to-bank transfers Users looking for a versatile mobile wallet with additional features

How do I register for PayNow?

  1. Open your bank app and log in.
  2. Go to “Pay & Transfer” and click “PayNow.” Register your mobile number or NRIC/FIN.
  3. Confirm your details and enter a nickname, then select the bank account you want to link to PayNow.
  4. Enter the OTP sent to your registered mobile number to complete the registration. The registration process is similar with OCBC and HSBC so expect it to be quick.

How do I register for PayLah!?

  1. Download the app and register for an account.
  2. For those who are DBS/POSB customers, register using your digibank credentials. Log in with your Digibank user ID and PIN, and follow the prompts to complete the registration.
    Not a DBS/POSB customer? Don’t worry. You can still register using your Singpass or MyInfo credentials.

For teens, PayLah! offers a special registration process. That said, parents need to assist their children by downloading the PayLah! app on the child’s phone.

After registration, it’s possible to link PayLah! account to your bank account for easy top-ups. You can also set up auto-debit to ensure your PayLah! wallet is always funded.

Frequently Asked Questions about PayNow and PayLah

Is PayNow only for Singapore?

Yes. Unfortunately, it cannot be used for international transfers.

Is PayLah only for Singaporeans?

It’s available to anyone with a Singapore-registered mobile number.

Can I use PayNow when I'm overseas?

You may use PayNow to transfer money to Singapore bank accounts even if you are physically overseas, as long as you have access to your bank's online or mobile banking app. However, PayNow cannot be used to send money to bank accounts outside Singapore.

Which bank supports PayNow?

DBS/POSB, OCBC, UOB, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Citibank, Maybank, Bank of China, and ICBC all support PayNow.

Which banks are participating in PayNow?

DBS/POSB, OCBC, UOB, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Citibank, Maybank, Bank of China, and ICBC.

Can I use PayLah outside Singapore?

Yes. Merchants need to accept UnionPay QR codes, though. This allows you to make payments in 45 countries like China, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand.

Can I use PayNow without internet banking?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible. You need to have access to your bank's internet or mobile banking services.

What is one disadvantage of using PayNow?

I can only be used for local transactions within the Lion City. International transfers isn’t possible.

Does PayNow require OTP?

Yes. This is needed for verification.

Does PayNow show your number?

To protect your privacy, the recipient will only see your PayNow nickname, not your mobile number or NRIC/FIN.

How do I activate PayNow?

Just log in to your bank's mobile or internet banking app. Go to the PayNow registration section, and link your mobile number or NRIC/FIN to your bank account. Follow the prompts to complete the registration.

What app to use for PayNow?

You can use your bank's mobile banking app to access PayNow. There is no separate PayNow app; it is integrated into the banking apps of participating banks.

What is the maximum limit of PayNow?

It’s S$200,000 per transaction but ultimately, this depends on your bank's daily transfer limit.

Published On: June 8th, 2024

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