by Venus Zoleta, on category "Personal Finance"
July 4, 2019
PayMaya and GCash are the biggest rivals in the Philippine mobile wallet market today. These online payment apps enable Filipinos—especially those without bank accounts and credit cards—to make cashless transactions.
If you have never used a digital wallet but want to try one, you’re probably searching PayMaya vs GCash online to know which is the better mobile wallet app.
This edition of Battle of the Brands compares the two leading mobile money services in the Philippines to help you decide which suits you better.
Which mobile wallet is used more in the Philippines? While having more users doesn’t make an app superior than the other, it does speak about the app’s popularity and to some extent, trustworthiness.
PayMaya has eight million users, based on the company’s latest data as of December 2017. GCash has a larger subscriber base with 20 million registered users as of June 2019.
GCash is also ahead in terms of finance mobile app ranking, according to data from SimilarWeb, which factors in the number of active users and current installs in the Philippines.
On the Apple App Store, GCash ranks number one, while PayMaya is on the fifth spot. The gap between the two online payment apps is wider on Google Play Store: looking at PayMaya vs GCash, GCash takes the top place, while PayMaya ranks 11th.
Both PayMaya and GCash accept subscribers from any mobile network—be it Globe, Smart, Sun, TM, or TNT. If you’re a Globe subscriber, for example, you can create a PayMaya account with your Globe number. The same goes for Smart subscribers who want to use GCash.
GCash offers more options for creating an account through the GCash app, *143# menu, and Messenger app. Registration for a PayMaya account can be done only through its mobile app.
However, there are GCash users who complain about the inconvenient verification process. Sometimes, verification through Messenger could take more than a week. Some users also had to undergo the Know Your Customer (KYC) process at a Globe Store or GCash partner outlet, so they could get fully verified.
Strangely, other GCash users didn’t encounter any problem with verifying their account, as they claimed they completed the verification process through the app.
GCash could do a better job at communicating and clarifying what users should exactly do to verify their account. Of course, it’s best if customers won’t have to spend time going to a mall just for GCash account verification.
On the other hand, PayMaya provides a smoother experience, from creating an account to upgrading it and getting a physical prepaid card. The KYC process for upgrading a PayMaya account is done through its app via a Messenger video call.
When choosing between PayMaya vs GCash, an important factor to consider is which app offers the financial services you need. The more features a mobile wallet app has, the more useful it is to customers.
Both PayMaya and GCash users can perform a wide range of financial transactions, including money transfer, bills payment, and cashless shopping. These online payment apps have also evolved into lifestyle apps, enabling customers to buy games, movie tickets, and airline tickets with just a few smartphone taps.
Mobile Wallet App Features
|Buy prepaid load||✓||✓|
|Scan and pay via QR code||✓||✓|
|Buy movie tickets||✓||✓|
|Physical prepaid card||✓ (Visa)||✓ (Mastercard)|
|Virtual prepaid card||✓ (Visa or Mastercard)||✓ (American Express)|
|Link to PayPal||✓||✓|
Currently, the GCash app has more functionalities than the PayMaya app. New GCash features have been recently rolled out, giving customers more reasons to use the app:
The only feature that PayMaya offers but GCash doesn’t (as of this writing) is the PayMaya Treats. Users can purchase e-vouchers from various merchants like Jollibee, Lazada, and Grab and then send them as gifts or treats to their loved ones.
PayMaya may be lagging behind in terms of app features right now, but given the intense competition in the digital payment industry, we can expect it to launch more mobile money services in the future.
The two online payment apps differ in the way they let users access their account. Opening a GCash is easier, as users must enter only a four-digit mobile PIN. PayMaya requires a longer, harder-to-remember password of at least eight alphanumeric characters. This can be quite inconvenient when paying for a purchase, but the complicated password ensures account security, especially when your phone gets lost or stolen.
Thus, if you want faster transactions, GCash is the better app to use. But if you’re more concerned about security, having a PayMaya account can give you peace of mind. For iPhone and iPad users, a more convenient way to access their PayMaya account is to use their device’s Touch ID, a fingerprint identity sensor.
Both PayMaya and GCash have partnered with Facebook to enable their customers to conveniently perform transactions on Messenger.
GCash has limited functionalities on Messenger. Users can only send money, buy prepaid load, and pay via QR code using the messaging app.
Meanwhile, PayMaya users can do more with Messenger. They can check their account balance, send money, purchase load, pay bills, check the nearest cash-in partner, and encash funds via Smart Padala.
It’s easy to fund your mobile wallet or withdraw cash from it if the app you’re using provides a lot of convenient options for cashing in and cashing out.
The better mobile wallet app for you depends on your preferred cash-in and cash-out method.
As you can see in the table below, the two digital wallet brands offer almost the same ways for customers to fund their account. The only exception is that debit cards are accepted for cashing in a GCash wallet. PayMaya doesn’t have this feature.
|Convenience stores||7-Eleven and Circle K||7-Eleven|
|Remittance centers||Smart Padala and Global Access||MoneyGram and Western Union|
|Department stores||Robinsons Department Store and The SM Store||Robinsons Department Store and The SM Store|
|Online/Mobile/ATM banking channels||
GCash offers more options, both online and offline, for withdrawing cash from a user’s virtual wallet. With PayMaya, you can cash out only through Smart Padala outlets and your physical card at Bancnet ATMs nationwide or Visa Plus ATMs worldwide.
|Payment centers||Smart Padala outlets||
|Department stores||N/A||Robinsons Department Store and The SM Store|
|Bank transfer||N/A||BDO, BPI, Metrobank, Landbank, PNB, and more|
|ATM withdrawal||Any BancNet ATM in the Philippines or Visa Plus ATM abroad||Any BancNet or Mastercard ATM in the Philippines|
If you’ll use PayMaya vs GCash to pay bills, it helps to know which one allows payment for the billers you’ll be paying to.
PayMaya’s bills payment feature is limited to around 20 billers only, including Meralco, Smart and Globe postpaid, and Manila Water. It also accepts payment for MMDA fees and penalties, Home Credit payments, Pag-IBIG contributions and housing loan amortizations, and DFA passport processing fees.
However, you can’t pay for PhilHealth and SSS contributions on the PayMaya app.
The GCash app’s bills payment service is more useful, as it allows payment to more than 240 billers. Unlike PayMaya, GCash lets users pay for their SSS contributions and SSS PESO Fund. PhilHealth contribution payment isn’t accepted yet.
The scan-to-pay via QR code feature of e-wallets allows for secure and convenient purchases. But not all business establishments accept digital payments, as cash is still the king in the Philippines.
This is why the merchants that accept payment via a particular app is a crucial consideration when choosing a mobile wallet app. After all, what’s the use of your mobile wallet if you can’t use it to pay at your favorite shop or restaurant?
If you would compare PayMaya vs GCash, GCash easily wins this round, with more than 50,000 QR payment partners in the Philippines (as of first quarter of 2019) versus PayMaya’s 8,582 (as of May 13, 2019).
Read more: The Best Payment Options for Online Shopping
Customer service remains a major pain point among customers of PayMaya and GCash, a situation that’s all too familiar when it comes to their parent company’s telecom services.
Many customers describe PayMaya’s customer support as “non-existent.” Its in-app messaging and email support are both unresponsive, but its Facebook admin occasionally responds to customer inquiries and complaints.
GCash isn’t faring any better. The customer hotline queue can get very long, and its customer support via Messenger isn’t that responsive.
While GCash appears to be the superior mobile wallet app in terms of functionalities and merchant partners, the merits of using PayMaya can’t be dismissed. Only you, the user, can pinpoint which of these two online payment apps is better for you.
It’s recommended that you try both and see for yourself how each one works, so you can compare PayMaya vs GCash and decide which app you should continue using.
Once you’ve chosen a digital wallet to use, get started with the help of one of these guides: