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  • Cheryl Tan

How to Pay Using PayNow, SGQR Code and More in Singapore

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

Humans are creatures of habit and many of us are still fond of carrying grimy dollar notes around. From a local study, dollar notes can carry as much bacteria as found on the soles of shoes and toilet seats.

While going cashless can minimise contact and the spread of bacterias and viruses, it can be a daunting task to decide which digital payment to use as there are just too many options out there.

Fret not, let us be your guide to the cashless world of digital payment.

Let’s take a look at some of these apps that are offered by your local banks like DBS, UOB and OCBC. Most of them are linked directly to your bank account, so any payment made will be directly deducted from your account. Most of these apps allow you to transfer money using the usual bank transfer service but you can also use Paynow, a peer-to-peer funds transfer service which was launched by the Association of Banks in Singapore.

PayNow, not to be mistaken as DBS PayLah or PayAnyone, is a service for individuals and businesses to send and receive money easily. You can make a transfer just by entering a mobile number, an identification number, a QR code or a UEN number if you are transferring to businesses.

Speaking of QR code, Monetary Authority of Singapore – MAS – has created a standardized QR code specification. So whenever you see a QR code with the SGQR logo, you will be able to scan and pay using your choice of bank apps or other payment apps.

So basically if you have any of these Bank apps like OCBC PayAnyone, DBS PayLah, or UOB Mighty, you can use the PayNow or SGQR services to make payments or do transfers.

You can use most of these bank apps to pay bills or even loans. Most of them have their own promotions and discounts that you can take advantage of.

UOB Mighty

If you want the option to also pay using your credit card, UOB Mighty allows you to do just that. After you linked your UOB credit card or debit card to the app, you will be able to make payment through your NFC enabled mobile phone just like how you use your credit card to make a cashless payment.

DBS PayLah

This works a little differently from the other bank apps as it incorporates an e-wallet in it. So basically every time you make a payment, it will transfer the money to the e-wallet and pay through your e-wallet. We’re not sure what’s the purpose for that though, since the transaction could be made directly with your bank account.


NETS Pay is an interesting option if you do not like what your bank has to offer. Like the DBS PayLah app, you have to transfer money into your e-wallet before you can make payment using this app. To transfer money into the app, you can link any of your NETS bank cards to it. So basically you have the option of topping up your wallet from different bank accounts.

NETS Pay also partnered with Union Pay. Similar to Visa and Mastercard, it’s widely used around the world, especially in China and you can make payment to participating merchants using this app.

Most of the solutions mentioned above are tied to your bank directly. If you are someone that prefers to use credit cards, here are some other solutions for you.

Most of your credit cards would already be a contactless smart card and you can use it to pay for your purchases. As technology advances, tech companies are capitalizing on the global push for a cashless world. We have apps like Apple pay, Google pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay, as well as the new Huawei Wallet.

Most of these apps work the same as they use Near Field Communication (NFC) on your phone or watch to make contactless payments. Most of the apps also allow payment for rides like public buses and train.

However, not all apps give you the same benefits.

Users of Samsung Pay can earn reward points which you can exchange for vouchers from beverages, food and even a resort stay.

New to the game is Huawei Wallet and for now, ICBC is the first bank they are partnering with. If more banks come on board, this could be the first contactless payment app that we can officially use in China.

Google Pay Singapore has recently announced a new food discovery feature which allows users to discover nearby eateries and order food directly from them or through the app.

The update also allows PayNow transfer for its users but this feature is only currently available for OCBC customers. Google says that other banks will be added soon.

The choice of payment options would largely be decided by your choice of bank and your choice of devices. But let’s hope we will soon have a super app that can unify the best services from each app.

This is part of the SG United Content Series supported by IMDA. Let’s stay hopeful and stay united! #SGUnited #StayHealthyGoDigital.

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