What’s GrabPay and is it any good?

GrabPay often run promotions which seem to change once every few weeks. View them here.

What is GrabPay?

Me being me – I pay attention to a lot of these QR codes and little ads/posters that I see plastered up on the walls of shops, whether they’re eateries, supermarkets or otherwise.


…and I’m sure that’s not even all.

I’m obviously not going to be covering all of them in this post. The focus of this post is GrabPay, although I will make comparisons and mentions of the alternatives. That’s what I’m here for, after all, right?

Ok – let’s find out if GrabPay is worth using, and let’s see if the other options are any better!


Deal Rating: 7/10 – There is no “harm” in having it, and because of how often people use Grab anyway, it is likely that you’ll have a balance of GrabRewards points which you can easily add to by using GrabPay.

GrabPay is good because:

  • It’s fairly widespread
  • They have regular promos which they tend to update about once a month
  • It’s a familiar brand
  • You earn points on your spend (some points is better than no pints), in addition to potential Credit Card points you’d earn when topping up your Grab account
  • It’s got a good UI and is easy to use
  • There are/can be promotional ways to use your points making the value even better than the “standard” 1.25% (see below for calculation to get to 1.25%)
  • GrabRewards points are also earned on Grab rides, and GrabFood orders, which is a way for you to combine all your points earn together
  • It can be used across multiple countries in South East Asia, and the GrabRewards points you earn all get pooled together, regardless of what country you use Grab

GrabPay is not so good because:

  • There are alternatives – e.g. FavePay, that can offer better value
  • You have to top up your account first ($10 minimum), which means you most likely will end up with leftover balances, as opposed to your card being debited a fixed amount for each transaction made.

GrabPay – An overview

Grab itself, as a ridesharing service, needs no introduction in South East Asia. Grab are the ridesharing option of choice across multiple markets in South East Asia (maybe not Indonesia – GoJek?). GrabPay is their foray into digital payments.

As I have always said, it’s better you earn some form of return than none at all. Each transaction you make with GrabPay earns you GrabRewards points which you can use to redeem vouchers, or even KrisFlyer Miles through the GrabRewards section of the app. In fact, you earn GrabPoints on Grab rides, GrabPay transactions, and GrabFood transactions.

Point earn for different membership tiers when making payments using GrabPay

For the purpose of this exercise, I’m going to assume everyone is at the base level of membership and you earn 5 points per dollar. I’m now going to give you an idea of how much you’re really getting back as a percentage.

For ease of calculation, I’m going to use Grab vouchers.

Here’s how much Grab vouchers cost:

  • $5: 2000 GrabRewards points (2000 points/$5)
  • $10: 3800 GrabRewards points (1900 points/$5)
  • $15: 5500 GrabRewards points (1833.3 points/$5)
  • $20: 7400 GrabRewards points (1850 points/$5)
  • $25: 9000 GrabRewards points (1800 points/$5)

Understandably, and as is usual of loyalty programs, the larger the denomination you redeem, the “cheaper” it becomes cheaper per unit.. with the exception of the $15 Grab voucher – not sure what happened there.

I like to be conservative with these sorts of valuations, so let’s use the $5 voucher as our benchmark.

If you earn 5 points per dollar, you need to spend $400 to earn the 2000 points to get enough points for a $5 Grab Voucher. $5 on $400 spend – what is your return?
$5/400 = 0.0125
Multiply this figure by 100 and you’ll get your return as a percentage -> 1.25%

In summary, your expected return on GrabPay transactions is rougly 1.25%.

Why “roughly”?

Because the valuation can vary. For example.. what if:

  • You redeem a $25 Grab voucher? Your return then becomes ~1.39%
  • You redeem KrisFlyer miles? 11000 GrabRewards points “buys” you 1000 KrisFlyer Miles. Is it worth it? Ultimately, it depends on how much 1000 KrisFlyer Miles is worth to you
  • You redeem a promotional voucher? For example, I redeemed a $4 Kraftwich voucher for 100 points. This effectively gave me 20% return on my points – assuming I value a $4 Kraftwich voucher at $4 (Psst. I don’t – but it was cheap, and I wanted to try!)
  • You redeem a competition entry? 50 points right now buys you a chance to win a Galaxy S9 or S9+. Entry to a competition is a bit difficult to value.
  • You are a Gold or Platinum Member? A Gold member earns 50% more points than a Member or Silver level member, giving you a return of 1.875%. A platinum earns double – giving you a return of 2.5%
  • You don’t/can’t accumulate 2000 points to get you the $5 voucher? This changes the equation.

The list of variables can go on, but you get the point.

So… is it good?

Sorry, I don’t think I was explicit with saying whether it was actually any good above. All I did was tell you the return.

As you saw from my list above, there are a large multitude of options available in Singapore in terms of digital payments.

From what I’ve observed in my 2 months here, the most useful ones are, probably in this order:

The others one are either not as widespread, a slightly different concept, less lucrative, or a combination of all three.

The fact that I’ve already blogged about FavePay and Singtel Dash but none of the others is also a rough indicator of my sentiment towards all these options. Having said that, there are some from that list that I have not actually used yet, so there is definitely the possibility that there is “untapped potential” within that list.

GrabPay is good because it’s quite widespread, easy to use, versatile, and it’s linked to a hugely popular app that many locals are likely to use anyway.

FavePay is probably a bit better because you generally get a cashback rate of at least 5%, sometimes up to 20%, in the form of Fave credits useable on a future visit specifically at that store/chain. If you know you’ll never go back, GrabPay is probably the better option.

The other alternative with FavePay, however, is that you could deliberately break your payments into two such that you’re left with very little leftover credit.

As a simple example, let’s say you have a $10 transaction at a merchant that gives 10% cashback via FavePay. You could pay $9.10, earning you $0.91 cashback, and then pay $0.90, leaving you with $0.01 cashback. By doing this, you’ve effectively been able to get a direct and immediate benefit from the cashback!

Do you have any experiences or comments you’d like to add with using GrabPay? Comment below!

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