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PayLah vs PayNow vs Pay Anyone: Similar Concepts, Different Uses

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PayLah, PayNow and Pay Anyone are all online funds transfer services that allow you to make payments, complete purchases and send money online. While DBS PayLah and Pay Anyone are apps you must install, PayNow is already an integrated part of each participating bank's internet or online banking platform. PayNow was set up by the Association of Banks in Singapore, and it is widely used by corporations and even government entities.

Anyone can use DBS PayLah to access rewards and promos. However, users with DBS bank accounts will get the greatest benefit thanks to the app's Auto Debit feature, which eliminates the need for manual top ups. Pay Anyone offers a similar setup and promotions, but is only available to OCBC customers.

PayLahPayNowPay Anyone
Easiest registration
Most convenient
Best perks

What is PayLah?

DBS PayLah! is a payment app, which is similar to PayNow in that you can send money to friends and family, as well as make payments to merchants. The big advantage of PayLah! is the wider range of perks that come with it. You can order food, buy movie tickets, get rides, pay bills, send and request funds, shop as well as earn rewards. Using PayLah! also earns you cashback on purchases from various merchants, from 7Eleven, Dunkin' Donuts and Gong Cha to The Soup Spoon and ShengSiong.

How to Register for PayLah

In order to sign up for PayLah!, first you will need to download the DBS PayLah! app. If you have a DBS/POSB deposit account, the next step is to provide your digibank account credentials. If you don't have them, you need to create a digibank account before proceeding.

If you don't have a DBS/POSB deposit account, you'll need to register for PayLah! with a pre-filled application form via MyInfo. Finally, you will need to enter your personal details and select the account you wish to have linked to your app.

How to Use PayLah

While you can use the PayLah! app without being a DBS/POSB debit account holder, having one of those accounts lets you enable Auto Debit to maintain your funds in the wallet and avoid having insufficient funds. The manual Top Up function is also available.

If you're not a DBS or POSB account holder, your only option to top up your PayLah! wallet is via an SG Fast bank account, where you will be sending funds from your bank's internet or mobile banking platform to DBS Bank providing your PayLah! account number. Regardless of which bank you belong to, you can always send funds back to your account from the PayLah! wallet.

PayLah is now accepted at more than 80,000 locations, spanning from shopping to transport and entertainment. It is also currently offering various promotions on Golden Village movie tickets every Wednesday when purchased via the app. Another perk offered exclusively to DBS and POSB customers is the option to redeem your card rewards in the PayLah! app and use them towards your future purchases.

What is PayNow?

PayNow is a secure online platform which allows you to transfer money instantly, either using only the mobile number or the recipient's NRIC/FIN. Not only can you make instant payments to your friends and family, but you can also transfer funds to a merchant through PayNow. The service is just as secure as FAST and GIRO. In fact, the government has announced that PayNow-NRIC will be its preferred means of payment of cash.

How to Register for PayNow

Typically, setting up this service can be completed in three easy steps, so long as you have an active account at any of the 9 participating banks .

  • First, you need to log into your internet banking or mobile banking and select "PayNow". There is no designated PayNow app, since each bank has it on their platform.
  • Second, you have to enter your mobile number or NRIC/FIN.
  • Third, enter a preferred name to start paying and receiving funds.

How to use PayNow

There are currently 9 banks, which have adopted PayNow into their mobile banking:

If you have an account at any of these banks, you can easily register to use PayNow through the bank's online portal and send money instantly to anyone else who is a customer of a participating bank and has registered for PayNow. To make transfers to merchants via PayNow, all you need to enter is the merchant's QR code in your app and proceed to transfer funds, or key in the merchant's Unique Entity Number (UEN), the amount you wish to transfer and tap on Pay Now. You can also transfer an allowance to your child's account by simply linking their birth certificate number/NRIC to their PayNow app. The transfers can only be used for Singapore dollar funds and have to be between participating banks, with a minimum daily transfer of S$1 and a cumulative daily limit set at S$1,000. Payments above that amount are still possible, but require extra security measures.

What is Pay Anyone?

OCBC Pay Anyone is an app which allows you to do just that, pay anyone. The only catch is that you have to be an OCBC customer with an OCBC Online Banking account, OCBC Savings or Current account. You can also use an OCBC 360 account instead of a deposit account.

How to Use Pay Anyone

OCBC Pay Anyone can be used to make payments to merchants or friends using NRIC, a mobile number or a QR code. You can also request payment from friends and family and complete a QR cash withdrawal via the app at any OCBC ATM. You can also use the app to pay for meals at restaurants, store purchases, movie tickets and transportation. Similar to PayLah!, Pay Anyone allows you to send funds to anyone with a PayNow account.

How to Register for Pay Anyone

Similar to PayNow and PayLah!, all you need to do is download the OCBC Pay Anyone app and link your OCBC account number. The ATM cardless withdrawals and non-PayNow transfers are capped at S$1,000 daily. OCBC Personal Banking customers can complete transactions to their PayNow account and make QR purchases of up to S$200,000 daily. The app also offers cashback on qualifying purchases.

The Final Verdict: Which Option is Best For You?

If you have a bank account with DBS, POSB or OCBC, then PayLah! and Pay Anyone may be better choices for you than PayNow. These apps each offer promotions, cashback, easy withdrawals and rewards linked to your debit account. PayNow gives you none of these benefits.

PayLah! is the best choice for DBS and POSB bank customers because its features will integrate automatically with their bank accounts. Unlike PayNow, PayLah! is more of a lifestyle app that offers discounts, cashback and other promotions which can save you money in the long run. PayLah! also lets you transfer money to PayNow accounts as well, so you can still send or receive money from people who don't use PayLah!.

We recommend Pay Anyone for OCBC customers for the same reasons why we think PayLah! is the best for DBS and POSB customers. One unique benefit of Pay Anyone is that the app allows you to withdraw cash at any OCBC ATM.

That said, PayNow may be enough if you simply want a basic payment service that doesn't require installing any new apps. PayNow is already integrated inside the apps of the 9 participating banks, so there is no need to register again or set up new accounts. PayNow is also the government's preferred choice for disbursing payments - a clear sign that it is here to stay.


In assessing which online payment platform is a best fit for you, we evaluated several factors based on publicly available information from the websites advertising each service. These were accessibility, eligibility, and ease of use.

First it was important to understand how much effort is needed when accessing the platform as well as who is eligible for participation, whether you need to be a client of a given bank or whether the platform is already incorporated into your existing account.

Second, we looked at the convenience of a given platform. This entails how widely it is used, how many participating parties it has, as in customer, corporations and other government-related institutions. The third and final aspect we considered was how many benefits are offered for using the platform.

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Zoryana Melesh

Zoryana is a Senior Research Analyst at ValueChampion, who focuses on evaluating credit cards, savings and fixed deposits in Singapore. She holds a BA in Political Science and an MPA in International Finance and Economic Policy, both from Columbia University. Prior to joining ValueChampion, Zoryana worked in treasury management consulting.

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