During this circuit breaker period where we try to avoid leaving the house unless it’s essential, more of us are turning to internet banking to check our bank statements and transfer money so we don’t have to make a trip to the bank or an Automated Teller Machine (ATM).

But with so many payment services offered by banks nowadays, how do we know which service to use? And are they essentially the same service with different names, or do they serve different purposes?

We break it down for you.

DBS PayLah! 

Image: DBS

PayLah! is a digital wallet which can be downloaded as an app onto your smartphone. You can use it to transfer from or receive funds into your wallet, or pay merchants using a QR code.

DBS/POSB customers can send and receive money with a bank account. However, Singaporeans or Permanent Residents without a DBS/POSB deposit account can still use DBS PayLah! if they have a MyInfo account which you can authenticate yourself. 

When you send payment to someone, you have to make sure your wallet is topped up because the funds will be deducted from the wallet. But the good thing is, auto debit is available so you don’t need to top-up your wallet manually. 

The downside, however, is that not every merchant accepts PayLah and as a result, you may have leftover cash in your wallet. You would have to manually transfer the money back to your bank account. To do so, go to your DBS PayLah! app, go under Manage Wallet and click Transfer to Account.

While you can still use PayLah if you do not have a DBS/POSB bank account, you would have to transfer funds to and fro your PayLah wallet with online banking.

Image: DBS

OCBC Pay Anyone

Just like DBS PayLah!, OCBC Pay Anyone is a mobile app that allows you to transfer and receive funds or make payments to merchants.

However, currently, Pay Anyone is available only for OCBC customers. While you don’t need a DBS/POSB account to use PayLah!, you do need an OCBC account to use Pay Anyone, and this is the biggest difference between the two.

Funds are directly debited from and credited to users’ OCBC savings or current accounts. Therefore, it isn’t an e-wallet, and you don’t need an extra step of withdrawing money out of there.

Also, you can ‘split the bill’ with their new “bill splitting” option where you can send your friends their portion of the bill. They can transfer their portion of the bill to you upon receiving your request through Pay Anyone app. 

Image: OCBC

PayNow

Anyone who has a DBS/POSB, UOB, OCBC, Citibank, HSBC, Maybank, Standard Chartered, BOC or ICBC bank account in Singapore can use PayNow. You don’t have to download another app to access it as it has been integrated into major banks’ mobile banking apps. That is how convenient it is and is the major difference of PayNow from the other two services.

To start receiving money from anyone, simply register your mobile number or NRIC/FIN through digibank (online/mobile banking). And this works in reverse too—you can send money instantly with just the mobile number, NRIC/FIN or UEN of any business owner or self-employed person.

Transactions are directly deducted from and credited to users’ bank accounts. Therefore, it isn’t an e-wallet and you don’t need an extra step of withdrawing money out of there. This is another important difference between PayNow and PayLah.

Here’s a table for easier reference: 

ServiceDBS PayLah!PayNowOCBC Pay Anyone
What is it?A Digital Wallet that can send and receive fundsA fund transfer service, not an e-wallet A fund transfer service, not an e-wallet 
How do I access it?DBS PayLah! AppAny bank’s Internet Banking ServiceOCBC Pay Anyone App
How do I start using it?In-app registration with iBanking or MyInfoRegister your mobile number or NRIC/FIN throughdigibank (online/mobile banking)Register your mobile number or NRIC/FIN throughonline/mobile banking
Who can use it?DBS/POSB customers, but non-DBS or POSB customers can also use itAnyone who has a DBS/POSB, UOB, OCBC, Citibank, HSBC, Maybank, Standard Chartered, BOC and ICBC bank accountOCBC customers only
How do I send or receive funds?Via your mobile numberVia your mobile number or NRICVia your mobile number or NRIC or QR Code or email address
Daily LimitS$2,000 for DBS/POSB customers, S$999 for non DBS/POSB customers S$1,000 without requiring your iBanking token. For transfers above S$1,000, you will need to use your iBanking token to add the recipient as a payeeS$1,000
Can I pay for my purchases?Yes, PayLah lets you pay by scanning a QR codeYes, PayNow lets you pay by scanning a QR codeYes, Pay Anyone lets you pay by scanning a QR code

So which payment method is better?

PayNow is the most popular and widely-used payment method in Singapore as pretty much anyone can use it. You also don’t have to download yet another app to access it as it has already been integrated into major banks’ mobile banking apps.

Also, PayNow is a more commonly-accepted payment mode than PayLah or Pay Anyone among merchants, so it is more handy and convenient to use PayNow. 

However, PayLah users enjoy perks such as S$1 off their ComfortDelGro rides if they make payment using the service. They can also enjoy S$2.50 off movie tickets booked through the PayLah app. In comparison, PayNow does not come with these lifestyle benefits and is strictly a fund transfer service.

Pay Anyone users can also enjoy promotions but currently on the website, there is only one promotion—10% off total bill at The Connoisseur Concerto.

Overall, PayNow is the best one if you just need to transfer or receive funds readily but if you are looking for discounts or offers, it is good to have PayLah as another option if the merchant accepts it.

Image: Envato Elements