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Digital wallets: Which one should you use?

Apple Pay can be used only with an Apple Pay-enabled card reader

Forgot your wallet? Just tap and pay with these mobile payment apps

Dash allows you to pay with your phone at 20,000 locations island-wide
Dash allows you to pay with your phone at 20,000 locations island-wide

Say hello to the digital wallet.

With more mobile payment apps, like Dash and Apple Pay, hitting the market, the days of walking around with an actual wallet, bursting with cash and credit cards, may be over.

To create your own digital wallet, all you have to do is store your ATM or credit card information — you can add as many cards as you like — into your phone via one of these apps.

To pay, just wave your phone over a compatible transaction receiver. Your payment information will be transmitted to the merchant via a transaction-specific dynamic security code.

One thing to note: These apps typically work only on smartphones that are near field communications (NFC)-enabled, like the iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy 6.

Here are some pros and cons of popular mobile payment apps:

Singtel M Wallet

This app is the most useful for those living in Singapore, as it was developed specifically for transactions in local stores. Just add your credit cards into the app, wave it over a MasterCard PayPass reader, and you are done with your purchase!


  • Convenient for people who live in Singapore.
  • MasterCard PayPass readers are widely available in stores here, so you can use your phone to pay for almost anything.
  • You can use it to top up your EZ-Link and SingTel Prepard Mobile Hi! Card.
  • Money can be remitted overseas via the app.


  • NFC-certified phones plus a Singtel NFC Sim Card will be needed for MasterCard PayPass store transactions to work.


This is an app based in Singapore that allows you to pay with your phone at over 20,000 locations island-wide, with no admin fee.


  • Many popular businesses, like 7-Eleven, Watsons, Food Republic, Comfort Delgro and SMRT Taxis, allow payments with this app.
  • You just need to sign up for a Dash account, top up your account with your bank balance, tap on “Pay Business”, and enter the counter code and account you want to use for payment.
  • There are always Dash-exclusive promotions.


  • Long load times, especially when it comes to third-party links.


Not your usual mobile app, this device is quite interesting, as you can use it to pay any merchant, worldwide, that accepts a magnetic strip card. First, store your credit card information in the LoopPay device, which comes in the form of a phone case. To pay, wave the device over a normal credit card reader, while tapping a button at the back of the device.


  • Can be used anywhere in the world with a magnetic card reader.
  • You can also store your gift cards in the device.


  • Only compatible with credit cards from the United States.
  • A LoopPay device (from US$15.95 ($22)) must first be purchased

Apple Pay

Apple Pay can be used only with an Apple Pay-enabled card reader
Apple Pay can be used only with an Apple Pay-enabled card reader

Launched in 2014, Apple Pay was created by tech giant Apple to allow easy and fast transactions with its devices.


  • Can be used in iPhones, Apple Watches and iPads.
  • There is no need to open the app to pay; just hold your iPhone near the contactless reader with your finger on the Touch ID fingerprint recognition sensor.
  • Fast way to pay for in-house Apple apps.


  • Can be used only at stores with an Apple Pay-enabled reader. Apple Pay does not work with normal credit card readers.
  • Only available in the US and UK at the moment.
  • Compatible only with selected Apple devices.

Google Wallet

Google’s version of mobile payments to rival Apple Pay.


  • Fast payment at many online retailers using “Pay by Google” and Google Play Store Apps.
  • Works with any credit or debit card.
  • You can send money to anyone in the US with a Gmail address.
  • The Google Wallet Card can be used to store payments or withdraw money at ATMs across the US.


  • Only available in the US.
  • Only compatible with Android phones.
  • Only NFC enabled phones can be used for store payments.


Conclusion: Though mobile payment apps are convenient, they have still a long way to go in terms of usability and widespread compatibility. But they can also be a safer option to using traditional credit cards, where your details are exposed for the world to see — just don’t lose your phone.


By Chan Shu Hui



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