I have a confession to make.
Even as a Platinum Grab member, I have yet to use my GrabPay wallet.
It’s not that I am skeptical about Grab as a company (I am a Platinum member, after all) – I just have a general distrust of e-wallets in general, and avoid using them unless absolutely necessary…or when there’s a deal I cannot refuse.
To me, having an e-wallet means ‘locking up’ my money and leaving the key with a company.
More importantly, I was worried that the places I frequent don’t accept e-wallets as a payment option.
Cold, hard cash is, after all, the one that is still accepted anywhere.
This pessimism lingered even after I found out that a friend of mine is a regular GrabPay user (“I can get GrabRewards points when I buy lunch and dinner, so why not?”), and encouraged me to do the same.
Due to my bullheadedness, my GrabPay balance thus stagnated at a grand total of 2 cents for over a year.
This resistance was recently shaken, however, when Grab challenged me to use my GrabPay wallet for a week – to which I said: “Challenge accepted.”
The Challenge: Using My GrabPay Wallet For A Week
To keep the challenge as realistic as possible, I set one ground rule: that I won’t go out of my way to purchase items or go to places I typically won’t just to use the wallet.
After listing out my typical expenses in a week (food, bubble tea, etc.), I referred to the GrabPay merchant map to see if the stores I frequented accepted GrabPay.
Other than my kopi, I was relieved to see that the market I walked through every morning offered me options for breakfast (Swee Heng Bakery), lunch (Subway), bubble tea (iTea), and even a place to trim my bangs!
Taking into account my dinners and miscellaneous expenses for the week, I figured that $150 would be sufficient for the challenge.
Topping up the wallet was simple enough, because I already had my credit card linked to my account.
There was an option to enable auto top-up, but I wasn’t ready for that amount of commitment…yet.
At point of top-up, I had already accumulated 5,833 GrabRewards points, a feat accomplished by my occasional GrabFood orders, frequent Grab rides, and a deal during the Grab Singapore Sale where I got 10,000 points for just $10.
Before embarking on the review, the Grab team told me that in-store purchases actually give Platinum users 10 points with every $1 spent (FYI: Gold members get 7.5 points per dollar; the rest get 5) – something that I didn’t know before!
With that, I started on my week-long journey using my GrabPay balance whenever I could.
There Are More ‘GrabPay Accepted Here’ Stickers Than I Imagined
In true Singaporean millennial fashion, I dedicated my first in-store purchase to one of our F&B icons – bubble tea.
In order to maximise my points, I slyly took orders from colleagues, eventually racking up over $20 worth in milk tea and pearls at iTea.
While combing through a list of very varied bubble tea orders was tricky, making payment for it was the opposite.
Scanning the QR code which was prominently displayed at the counter, the only thing that required a little more effort was keying in the exact amount I needed to pay.
I got 214 points from the transaction. According to my calculations, that means that you get 10 points for every dollar spent!
Protip: Offer to pay for group orders first and maximise the amount of GrabRewards points that you earn!
My next purchase was also food-related, when I grabbed some breakfast from Swee Heng Bakery.
28 points might seem measly, but a little bit always adds up in the end!
Thursday evenings are dedicated to my Korean language lessons in Bugis, and I would typically grab (no pun intended) something convenient like a bowl of soup or a sandwich to consume during class.
Luckily for me, Bugis Junction is a hotbed of merchants that accept GrabPay, and I was spoiled for choice on what to get for my dinner.
Not only at F&B establishments, popular Korean skincare and makeup brand Innisfree was also a place where I used my GrabPay balance twice in a span of one week.
The first time was after I realised that Innisfree was holding a GSS sale.
What better time to get some new makeup, right?
The second time was when the BT21 x Innisfree collection dropped at stores.
Given that this was purchased on the last day of the review, my funds were already running out, and I needed to top up my wallet to make the purchase.
I found it intriguing, though, that I could already feel a change in my attitude when it came to e-wallets.
I also started noticing the green ‘GrabPay accepted here’ stickers at places I never imagined accepted the e-wallet, and made mental notes to use my GrabPay wallet the next time I shopped there.
More importantly, what used to be a paralysing fear that “I’m locking up my money and I’ll never see it again” had become almost unfounded as I saw using the wallet (and getting rewarded while at it!) in an entirely new light.
Here’s How Many GrabRewards Points I Earned In A Week
For those who don’t want to do the math, I essentially earned 2,004 points in a span of a week by spending around $200, give or take.
In terms of rewards that I can claim with these points, I have earned enough to redeem a voucher that’ll give me $5 off a Grab ride (1,900 points), 160 KrisFlyer Miles (1,400 points), or a personal pizza from Dominos (1,900 points).
While that doesn’t seem like much, do note that my experiment was conducted in a way that I didn’t go all out to splurge on random items. All my purchases were simply part of my typical week.
So you could think of GrabPay more as a complement to your lifestyle, one that gives you bonus perks without you needing to go out of your way to earn them.
That said, my week-long experiment has also spurred on my auntie side in finding ways to grab (no pun intended, again) more rewards points.
Here are some protips that you could consider:
Protip #1: Big Ticket Items Are Your Friend
A pleasant surprise came after I had back-to-back Yoga sessions at two different studios.
While I didn’t need to make any payment that day, I realised that if I were to pay for the class packages (which cost between $150 to $200 monthly) with my GrabPay balance, I would be able to instantly get 1,500 to 2,000 points!
So the next time you’re looking to purchase a bigger ticket item, perhaps check to see if they accept GrabPay first.
Protip #2: GrabWheel-ing Around Also Gets You Points
If you enjoy riding around on e-scooters, you’ll be glad to know that your trips will also earn you points!
Every dollar spent on the GrabWheels e-scooter service lets you earn 5 GrabRewards points, so who says that only Grab car rides are rewarding?
Just remember to get a helmet!
Protip #3: GrabRewards Points Now Don’t Expire, So Stack ‘Em Up
Recently, Grab also announced some updates to GrabRewards.
Now, GrabRewards points have no expiry date as long as you make 1 Grab transaction every 6 months.
Grab has also added higher-tier rewards like the Apple Watch Series 4 (300,000 points), Dyson Airwrap Styler (260,000 points), and Samsung Galaxy S10e 128GB (490,000 points), so if you’ve been a hoarder of your points, now’s probably the best time to use them!
Bonus Protip: Pay Less For Rides
Although I’m someone who uses the Grab app mostly for the ride-hailing service, I completely overlooked the promos that Grab occasionally drops when customers pay for rides with their GrabPay balance.
Thus, I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed that my ride back from an event at Funan was $4 cheaper than what it would have been if I had paid with my credit card.
So do keep a lookout for them the next time you take a Grab ride!
I have to say that taking the plunge and (finally) using my GrabPay wallet worked out well in the end.
And it’s not just because I ended the experiment with more GrabRewards points; I am glad to have been proven wrong about e-wallets and have since gotten over my fears and pessimism of them.
- Have you used the GrabPay wallet for your day-to-day purchases? Tell us more about your experience!
This article was written in collaboration with Grab.