PayNow vs PayLah! vs Pay Anyone: Choose the right mobile payment method for you

Elle Kasser

If you’re a Singapore resident, you may well have seen adverts online, in stores, and even in taxis and hawker stalls for payment using a mobile payment method such as DBS PayNow, PayLah! or Pay Anyone.

These are all handy ways to send money to friends and family, and pay for goods and services using your mobile phone simply by scanning a QR code. But what exactly is the difference?

This guide covers all you need to know, including the key differences between PayNow, PayLah and Pay Anyone.

📝Table of contents:

PayLah!, PayNow and Pay Anyone differences

DBS PayLah is a mobile wallet, for making peer to peer payments and spending money in participating stores, restaurants and even taxis. You’ll need to have an eligible smartphone and download the PayLah!! app to get started.

PayNow is offered via a network of 9 major banks in Singapore¹ and lets you send and receive payments using just a mobile number. This means you don’t need to know full bank details to arrange a payment.

As with PayLah you can also use your PayNow account to pay everywhere from stores to taxis, if the merchants support the technology.

OCBC Pay Anyone is another mobile wallet app which lets you pay anyone just using their mobile number or email address. All you need is your phone, and you can pay for meals, shopping, taxi rides and more.

All three payment services have link ups with different brands and companies which may give discounts or special offers if you shop there. It’s worth checking which payment method is accepted at places you shop regularly and seeing if there are promotions which appeal to you.

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How to use PayLah!

To transfer money using PayLah you’ll need to login to the app using your password, touch or face ID. You can then enter the amount you want to send, and the recipient's mobile number. Check the transfer details are correct, and tap ‘Let’s go’ to get the money on its way.

How to set up PayLah!

You can sign up to PayLah as long as you’re over 16², and have an eligible smartphone with a Singapore registered number. PayLah! is most convenient for DBS/POSB account holders, but you can actually get an account no matter who you usually bank with.

It’s worth noting, though, that using PayLah with a linked account from a different bank can prove pretty inconvenient as you need to top up your PayLah! balance with internet banking before you can make a payment.

PayLah requires users to have an app - so your first port of call will be the App Store or Google Play. Download the app, and then follow the steps indicated to sign up using your MyInfo or digibank account.

How to receive money from PayLah!

It’s easy to get paid using PayLah. It has a ‘request payment’ feature where in just a few taps, you can send notifications to your friends to request payment. This includes PayNow users.

PayLah! limit

If you’re a DBS or POSB customer, you can transfer up to S$2,000 a day using PayLah. For all other customers, this limit is S$999³.

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Save money on international payments with Wise

If you want to make an international transfer to send money overseas, you’ll need a different provider.

If you need to send money to friends or family in a different currency, you can choose a specialist service like Wise for cheap and convenient global payments. All currency conversion uses the mid market exchange rate with no markup or margin added, so there are no hidden fees to worry about. Just a transparent upfront charge for your payment.

Wise for sending money

Moreover, when you set up a payment through Wise, now you can even use your PayNow account to pay for your international transfer.

How to pay using PayNow:

  1. You’ll need to log in to your Wise account and set up a transfer to send Singapore Dollars.
  2. Select PayNow as a payment method to pay for your transfer
  3. To set up the payment to Wise, go to PayNow on your internet banking or mobile app
  4. Enter Wise’s Unique Entity Number 201422384R and your reference. You don't need to enter any bank details.
  5. Confirm your payment.

You might also consider getting yourself a Wise multi-currency account, especially if you want to hold money in different currencies, and make and receive frequent international payments. With a Wise account you’ll be able to keep over 40 currencies in the same place, and switch between them using the exchange rate you’ll find on Google. You just pay a small upfront fee.

And if you’re getting paid yourself, in US, New Zealand or Australian dollars, British pounds or euros, you can receive fee-free payments using your own local bank details for these major regions, saving time and money compared to a regular bank.

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How to use PayNow

PayNow works via your bank’s internet banking service, so you’ll need to login online to make a payment. However this does mean that you don’t need to download a separate app to use it.

You’ll need to get your recipient’s mobile number, or NRIC/FIN, and also the nickname they used when they signed up for a PayNow account.

You’ll be asked to enter the mobile or NRIC number, and confirm the nickname of your recipient, to make a payment.

How to register PayNow

To register for PayNow, you’ll usually need to log into your own internet banking service, and sign up to PayNow there. This will automatically link your bank account with PayNow, your registered mobile number, and your NRIC number.

PayNow limit

Now, how much can you spend using PayNow? It turns out to be quite a lot, as the daily transfer limit for PayNow is S$200,000¹.

Do PayNow and PayLah! work together?

Here are some other common questions - can PayNow pay to PayLah!, and what about transfers from PayLah! to PayNow?

PayLah! and PayNow are separate services. However there are some links. If you have a DBS/POSB Bank account you can get yourself either type of account - or both if you’d like - and link them to your regular bank account for convenience.

From your PayLah! account, you can send money to friends and family who have a PayNow account. This means they don’t need to get themselves set up with PayLah! if they don’t want to.

OCBC Pay Anyone: How does it work?

With Pay Anyone, all you need to do is set up the smartphone app and you’re ready to go. You can use face or fingerprint recognition to sign in, then you can send and request payments.

You can scan the NETS or PayNow QR codes to pay for purchases, or withdraw cash from OCBC ATMs all over Singapore. You can even split the bill with friends, including those who use PayNow - as the two services work together.

How to register for Pay Anyone

Pay Anyone is available to all OCBC customers with online banking access. Then, you can simply download the smartphone app, follow the setup instructions and link your OCBC account to it.

OCBC Pay Anyone limit

The limit for PayNow transactions and NETS QR purchases with Pay Anyone is S$200,000 a day, for premier customers or above your limit will be S$300,000.

Non-PayNow transactions are capped at S$1,000 a day.

You can withdraw up to S$1,000 a day using OCBC ATMs⁴.

How to receive money from OCBC Pay Anyone

There’s a simple ‘request payment’ feature on the Pay Anyone app. This lets you request a payment or the splitting of a bill, and your friend will receive an instant notification.

Which option should I choose?

You can make and receive payments, and pay for purchases using all three services. If you’re an app fan, DBS PayLah! and PayAnyone are great for managing your money and spending using just your phone. If not, you can sign up for PayNow using just your online banking platform.

PayNow is one of the easiest to sign up to and the most convenient to manage, but for perks such as discounts and offers - DBS PayLah! could be the winner.

Ultimately though, you need to go for the mobile payment service that works for you and your lifestyle.

Sources used for this article:

  1. DBS PayNow
  2. DBS PayLah
  3. PayLah - FAQ
  4. Pay Anyone - Help center

Sources checked on 25th April 2021

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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