Tech Guides

The ultimate guide to paying with your smartphone in Singapore

By Alvin Soon - 10 Jul 2017

FAQ for paying with your smartphone

FAQ for paying with your smartphone

Still with me? I told you it would get confusing. In case your head is still swimming with info, here’s a quick summary of how you can pay for what with your smartphone.


1. I want to buy things in the store using my smartphone as if it’s my credit/debit card

To pay for things over the counter, using your smartphone as if it’s your credit/debit card, you can use:

  1. Android Pay
  2. Apple Pay
  3. Samsung Pay

These services are linked directly to your credit/debit card, and charge the purchase accordingly to the card. Of course, you can only pay using these services using contactless NFC payment terminals that support them (which should be most of them).

Samsung Pay has one advantage, in that it can also work with MST credit card terminals. If you can swipe your credit card to pay at the terminal, you can also use Samsung Pay to pay. Just hold your Samsung smartphone close to the device and it will broadcast magnetic waves which replicate a physical card swipe.

Android and Apple Pay are limited to a maximum of S$100 per purchase (except when using UOB cards), whereas MST payments are limited to the card’s credit limit, so you can pay for more expensive items using Samsung Pay at MST terminals.


2. I want to pay for things in the store using my smartwatch

You can only use an Apple Watch (using Apple Pay) and Samsung Gear S3 (using Samsung Pay) to pay for things in a store. Android Pay does not let you pay with smartwatches for now.


3. I want to buy things in the store, using my smartphone, but I don’t have a credit/debit card

If you want to pay for things over the counter, but you only have a smartphone and no credit/debit card, you can use:

  1. M1 Mobile Wallet
  2. Singtel Dash
  3. DBS PayLah
  4. Pay Anyone

With M1 Mobile Wallet, you need to be on M1, and you need the EZ-Link NFC Transit SIM card, on a compatible NFC smartphone. Once you have these two, you can set up two different mobile wallets with two different ways to pay.

One is the EZ-Link mobile wallet, which you can use to pay for public transportation, as well as in stores which accept EZ-Link payment. The other is the M1 NFC Prepaid MasterCard mobile wallet, which lets you pay at contactless NFC payment terminals. Neither wallet requires a credit or debit card, but they need you to top up funds into them. Here’s how you can top up the mobile wallet inside M1 Mobile Wallet.

You don’t have to be a Singtel customer to use Dash to pay over the counter. You can download the Dash app on iOS and Android, whether you’re on Singtel or not. Once you top up funds into the Dash mobile wallet, you can use the app to pay at Dash terminals across Singapore. Dash terminals are not the same as the contactless NFC payment terminals that everyone else is using for mobile payment.

If you get the EZ-Link NFC Transit SIM card from Singtel, you can use it in tandem with Dash to pay for public transportation, as well as at stores which accept EZ-Link payment.

The DBS PayLah and OCBC Pay Anyone apps now let you pay at select stores via QR codes. PayLah deducts the amount from the app’s digital wallet, so you’ll still need to top up funds into it. Pay Anyone treats like a NETS transaction, and the amount is deducted from your bank account. 


4. I want to pay for things online using my smartphone

To pay for things inside your smartphone’s app or through online shopping, you can use:

  1. Android Pay
  2. Apple Pay
  3. DBS PayLah

These three apps support paying within apps or on online sites to some degree. No single service covers everything yet, though.

You can also sign up for MasterPass and PayPal. These are not, strictly speaking, mobile payment solutions, but you can use them to pay on participating websites, which means you can use them inside your mobile browser. MasterPass, for example, lets you pay on Shaw Theatres’ online booking website, Lazada and AXS.


5. I want to send money to my friends from my smartphone

You can use:

  1. DBS PayLah
  2. OCBC Pay Anyone
  3. PayNow

With DBS PayLah, you don’t need to have a DBS/POSB account to use the service, but your recipients will need to download and register for PayLah to receive payment.

With OCBC Pay Anyone, you need to have an OCBC account, as the service is a feature within the main OCBC SG Mobile Banking app. However, your recipient doesn’t need to have an OCBC account, nor does she need to download the app to receive payment. Both recipients will, however, need an account with a bank which offers FAST (Fast and Secure Transfers) services in Singapore.

Starting July 10, 2017, PayNow is a service supported by seven banks that let you transfer funds from one to another using just the recipient’s mobile phone number or IC number. The seven banks at launch are DBS Bank/POSB, OCBC Bank, UOB, Citibank, HSBC, Maybank, and Standard Chartered Bank. Receivers must link their mobile numbers or IC numbers to their bank accounts, but senders don’t. To send money, use the PayNow feature within the bank’s app or website.


6. I want to pay for public transportation using my smartphone

You’ll need to get the EZ-Link NFC Transit SIM from your respective telco, whether M1, Singtel or StarHub. Then you’ll need to download your telco’s mobile wallet app, and top up funds into the EZ-Link mobile wallet.

Join HWZ's Telegram channel here and catch all the latest tech news!
Our articles may contain affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn a small commission.