How to use PayNow in Singapore - complete guide

Hannes Ausmees

If you’re new to PayNow you might be wondering what it is and how it works.

Maybe someone has asked you to PayNow them some money to split a bill, or perhaps you’ve seen hawkers offering PayNow as a payment method when you’re buying lunch. Wherever you’ve seen PayNow, this guide has you covered with all you need to know about how to use PayNow to send money and pay others, and how to receive money from PayNow yourself.

Table of contents
  • What is PayNow?
  • How to use PayNow?
  • Need to send money internationally? Meet Wise
  • How to set up PayNow with banks
  • Summary
  • Frequently asked questions
  • move-money

    What is PayNow?

    PayNow is a secure payment system which lets you pay an individual, business or even government agency using just a mobile phone number, NRIC/FIN number, VPA (Virtual Payments Address) or UEN (Unique Entity Number) for business payments. You can also pay merchants by scanning their barcode, which provides a unique link to facilitate secure payments.

    PayNow is fast and secure - and most of all convenient. If you need to split a bill with a friend you can PayNow them the money without getting their bank details. Just use their mobile number, and you can send over the money in just a few clicks. PayNow is also commonly accepted by merchants and hawkers, so you don’t need to fiddle with change or even carry your wallet when you go out shopping or to eat.

    Which banks have PayNow?

    PayNow is supported by most of the major banks operating in Singapore, including:

    • Bank of China
    • Citibank Singapore
    • DBS Bank/POSB
    • HSBC
    • ICBC
    • Maybank
    • OCBC Bank
    • Standard Chartered
    • United Overseas Bank

    That means that if you bank with any of these providers, you’ll find PayNow payment options are often integrated into your online banking system.

    Is it safe to use PayNow?

    One more important question: Is PayNow safe?

    The good news is that PayNow is a safe payment method, using the same technology and security methods used for other bank payments and transfers, such as FAST and GIRO¹.

    How to use PayNow?

    Using PayNow is easy once you know how. You’ll need an eligible bank account to get set up, from any of the supported providers listed above. You’ll then need to register for PayNow by linking your mobile number, NRIC or FIN to your account. This can be done easily within your online banking app - we’ll look at how to set up PayNow for accounts held with DBS, OCBC and POSB a little later as an example.

    Once you’re registered you can make a payment by logging into your banking system online or on your smartphone. The exact steps may vary a little depending on who you bank with, but the process will be broadly the same²:

    • Log into online or mobile banking and select PayNow
    • Look for Transfer and then tap the type of payment - to a mobile, NRIC or UEN for example
    • Tap Start transfer and follow the prompts to enter the recipient details - like a phone number or NRIC/FIN number
    • Add the amount you want to transfer - you may also need to confirm the payment method by clicking the correct linked account
    • Enter a reference or message to the recipient
    • Check over, confirm and your money will be transferred instantly

    Receiving a payment is even easier. You’ll just need to tell the sender your phone number or NRIC/FIN number, and the name your PayNow account is registered under. They’ll be able to set up the payment, entering your details and confirming the details are correct by checking the name that is shown as corresponding to the phone number or NRIC/FIN. Once the payment is initiated, the funds will deposit in your linked account almost instantly.


    Need to send money internationally? Meet Wise

    PayNow is super convenient for making SGD payments - but can’t be easily used for international transfers. Instead, check out Wise for low cost international payments and secure, flexible multi-currency accounts.

    The true cost of sending SGD to USD

    Use your Wise account when you travel or shop online, to hold over 40 currencies and get the real mid-market exchange rate when you switch from SGD to the currency you need. You can receive payments for free with 8+ local bank details, send money to 50+ currencies, and get an international debit card to spend and withdraw easily.

    And to make life even easier, you can also add money to your Wise account with PayNow. Save time, money and hassle when you travel or spend internationally, with Wise.

    Start saving money with Wise 🚀


    How to set up PayNow with banks

    PayNow offers convenient ways to pay and get paid in SGD - and it’s easy to get started, too. To give a flavour, let’s look at how to set up PayNow with some of our major Singapore banks.

    PayNow with DBS

    DBS³ lets you set up PayNow in 3 ways - online banking, mobile banking, by SMS. Here’s what you need to do.

    To set up DBS PayNow online you’ll need to:

    • Log in to DBS online banking
    • Click on Transfer - To Mobile Number or NRIC (PayNow)
    • Select My Registrations
    • Choose either Register my Mobile Number or Register my NRIC / FIN
    • Follow the prompts to enter the information required and get set up

    To set up DBS PayNow in mobile banking:

    • Open the DBS digibank app and log in
    • Tap on Pay & Transfer, then PayNow
    • Select Your Profile
    • Tap on Register Your Mobile No.
    • Add a nickname that will be visible to anyone sending you money
    • Select the account that will link with your PayNow
    • Review and tap Register Now

    Finally, you can register via SMS. This requires you to send a specially formatted SMS to DBS, detailing the mobile number or NRIC/FIN and account you want to link. To learn more about this option, head to the DBS website.

    PayNow with OCBC

    Like DBS, OCBC⁴ offers customers the opportunity to sign up for PayNow online, in mobile banking or via SMS. The process is very similar to DBS:

    Via internet banking, log in and head to Customer Service and then Link or Manage PayNow. Complete the security step and follow the prompts to get set up.

    And using the mobile service, you can look for Settings and then Manage PayNow to complete the security step and get set up.

    PayNow with POSB

    Finally, POSB⁵ also offers a super quick and convenient option to sign up to PayNow, online or via mobile banking. As POSB and DBS are partner banks, the process to sign up with POSB is extremely similar to the process used by DBS - and very intuitive to get started with.

    Summary

    PayNow is a secure, fast and convenient way to make instant SGD payments from one Singapore bank to another. You don’t need to share bank details, or handle cash, to pay a friend, business or even government body - just use a mobile number, UEN, QR code or other proxy to send your money where it needs to go.

    It’s also super easy to receive payments through PayNow, with a simple online or mobile registration process from all the participating banks.

    Use this guide to get started - and don’t forget you can use PayNow to fund your Wise multi-currency account, to go beyond SGD payments and access fast, secure international transfers which use the real mid-market exchange rate every time.


    Frequently asked questions

    What’s the difference between PayNow vs PayLah!?

    PayLah! and PayNow are different services, although their functionality is similar. PayNow is operated by 9 Singapore banks, while PayLah! is a DBS service, making it most convenient for DBS and POSB customers who have this embedded in their mobile banking service already.

    Learn more about PayNow vs PayLah! here.

    How to increase my PayNow limit?

    Different banks have their own PayNow limits, which are set to a default and can usually be changed by logging into your online banking service.

    How to change PayNow name?

    You can manage your PayNow details and change your nickname by logging into your online or mobile banking service, heading to PayNow and looking for the Manage PayNow registration option.


    Sources:

    1. MOF - what is PayNow?
    2. DBS - PayNow FAQ
    3. DBS - PayNow
    4. OCBC - PayNow
    5. POSB - PayNow

    Sources checked on 01.09.2022


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    This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

    We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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