Posted in Finance, Mobile App, Telco, Tutorials

GCash versus PayMaya

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I have held off on writing about a GCash versus PayMaya article because until two months ago I was only a heavy GCash user. It’s pretty much evident I’ve encountered many problems transacting with GCash and that’s why I have been using my PayMaya account more frequently. Read more below for my GCash versus PayMaya update.

ATM Non-dispense Issue:

With my GCash MasterCard I have experienced non-dispense issues with an international bank’s ATM twice, spaced exactly a year apart. I detailed the first one here and the second unfortunate one happened earlier this year. The refund took 3 weeks. The solution I found for GCash non-dispense issue with international bank’s ATM was listening to the advice of my landlady’s son – to only use Sacombank’s ATM for withdrawing funds. I cannot discount the probability of the currencies involved for the conversion from Philippine Pesos to Vietnamese Dong as the factor for the ATM error. In Thailand, I have not had non-dispense issues using my GCash MasterCard (let’s not tempt fate!) but I do stick to one ATM machine only when withdrawing funds.

I have not used PayMaya to withdraw funds in Vietnam but have used it frequently this month in Bangkok and I can say I can go to my preferred ATM and not get paranoid as much as I would have when using GCash MasterCard.

Currency Conversion:

The caveat, though, when using the PayMaya Visa debit card for withdrawing funds at my preferred ATM here in Bangkok (Siam Commercial Bank), is the currency conversion. For example, XE Currency Exchange would tell me the exchange rate between PHP and THB is 1.67 but my PayMaya Visa ends up being charged using the 1.74-1.77 exchange rate. I believe this is purely a Visa issue and not PayMaya’s per se.

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When I use my GCash MasterCard at a Siam Commercial Bank, it doesn’t assume the bank’s conversion rate for me. Rather, the ATM’s screen would prompt me to choose between “Yes” or “No, continue without conversion” once it shows me the bank’s exchange rate. Tapping on the latter saves me a bit more compared to using my PayMaya Visa.

When using PayMaya or GCash abroad for withdrawing funds at an ATM, the exchange rates with Visa and MasterCard are things you should consider.

Another type of transaction where I could really feel the pinch when it comes to using the PayMaya Visa debit card is with Agoda hotel bookings – typically those reservations which are “Book Now Pay Later” where the booking is guaranteed with a card and will be charged a few days before the check-in date. Using a 7-day reservation as an example, I notice I would get charged 7,500 PHP with my PayMaya Visa as opposed to only 7,200 PHP using my GCash MasterCard. I’ve paid bookings with both cards for over a 4-month period to notice the difference.

Ability to Transfer Funds:

I can transfer funds from my GCash to PayMaya via the Send Money > Send To Bank option in the GCash mobile app. PayMaya, on the other hand, seems to have already disabled the transfer funds or send money to GCash feature for quite a long time. GCash does this via InstaPay and it is as promised – instant – and free, too.

PayPal Transfer:

Many have encountered delays when it comes to PayPal to GCash cash-ins. The good news is PayMaya is just as quick when transferring funds from PayPal to PayMaya but I would advise you to convert your USD to PHP first before attempting to do so.

Customer Support:

If you want to quickly resolve your GCash cash-ins via PayPal delays, I would advise you to go to a nearest Globe center and report the problem to a Globe agent. If you cannot go in person, you can write an authorisation letter and send someone instead to lodge the dispute case for you. Do not attempt to call 2882 when the Globe agent advises you to do so after filing your dispute for refund – have a Globe agent call 2882 for you on their mobile phones. It is really stupid how calling 2882 only works when a Globe agent is doing so on your behalf.

Even though I have often stressed sending a dispute form to GCash’s email support – support@gcash.com – nothing beats going to a Globe center in person or via a proxy to have your GCash disputes quickly resolved.

Needless to say, I have not had delays with PayMaya transfers.

System Maintenance Glitches:

GCash users would usually get notified of system maintenance updates via text message. This means all GCash transactions attempts will be disabled. I noticed GCash would schedule theirs between 10pm-2am. Last month I had a problem with an Agoda “Book Now Pay Later” booking because of this system maintenance incident. The funds for the booking were supposed to be debited from my GCash MasterCard by 1am Bangkok time. System was still down by 2am and because I had set my Agoda booking to auto-debit my GCash card, the inevitable system glitch took the amount from my GCash balance. When Agoda attempted to charge my card again later that day, it was unsuccessful because GCash had the funds floating somewhere in my account. Agoda verified they had not received the amount so my booking ended up being unpaid.

As I mentioned above, I requested my mother to go to a Globe center on my behalf and a Globe agent showed her a printed statement of my GCash account which proved Agoda did not receive anything. My funds were returned 3 days later because of that crucial printout. If I only relied on email support, the funds would have been returned to me 3 weeks after.

The solution I found for the problem I described above was to transfer my GCash funds to my mother’s GCash account as she also has a GCash MasterCard. During the day (when there is less likely to be system outages), I would email Agoda to request for a change in the card (my GCash MasterCard) associated with the booking). Within a few minutes I would get a call from an Agoda agent and I could then enter my mother’s GCash MasterCard via the secure line for card change.

 

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Posted in Games, Mobile App, Tutorials

Cooking Dash Pad Thai Pinball

Some recipes for the new Cooking Dash Venue, Pad Thai Pinball, can be confusing to tell apart. Since this is a recent venue, you can refer here for the images of the recipes to familiarise yourself with the items.

Source: Glu, Inc.

STIR-FRIED VEGGIES

S1E1 STIR-FRIED VEGGIES 1S1E1 STIR-FRIED VEGGIES 2S1E1 STIR-FRIED VEGGIES 3S1E1 STIR-FRIED VEGGIES 4S1E1 STIR-FRIED VEGGIES 5

 THAI ICED TEA

S1E2 THAI ICED TEA

WOK-FRIED SHRIMP

S1E4 WOK-FRIED SHRIMPS1E4 WOK-FRIED SHRIMP 2S1E4 WOK-FRIED SHRIMP 3S1E4 WOK-FRIED SHRIMP 4

S1E4 WOK-FRIED SHRIMP 5

FRIED CHICKEN

S1E6 FRIED CHICKEN 1S1E6 FRIED CHICKEN 2S1E6 FRIED CHICKEN 3S1E6 FRIED CHICKEN 4S1E6 FRIED CHICKEN 5

WOK-FRIED BEEF

S1E8 WOK-FRIED BEEF 1

FRIED PORK

S1E11 FRIED PORK 1S1E11 FRIED PORK 2S1E11 FRIED PORK 3S1E11 FRIED PORK 4S1E11 FRIED PORK 5

SHRIMP FRIED RICE

S1E13 SHRIMP FRIED RICE 1S1E13 SHRIMP FRIED RICE 2S1E13 SHRIMP FRIED RICE 3S1E13 SHRIMP FRIED RICE 4S1E13 SHRIMP FRIED RICE 5S1E13 SHRIMP FRIED RICE 6S1E13 SHRIMP FRIED RICE 7S1E13 SHRIMP FRIED RICE 8S1E13 SHRIMP FRIED RICE 9

KHAO PAD FRIED RICE

S1E15 KHAO PAD FRIED RICE 1S1E15 KHAO PAD FRIED RICE 2S1E15 KHAO PAD FRIED RICE 3

CHICKEN PAD THAI

S2E1 CHICKEN PAD THAI 1S2E1 CHICKEN PAD THAI 2S2E1 CHICKEN PAD THAI 3S2E1 CHICKEN PAD THAI 4S2E1 CHICKEN PAD THAI 5S2E1 CHICKEN PAD THAI 6S2E1 CHICKEN PAD THAI 7S2E1 CHICKEN PAD THAI 8S2E1 CHICKEN PAD THAI 9

MANGO STICKY RICE

S2E2 MANGO STICKY RICE

PORK PAD THAI

S2E3 PORK PAD THAI 1

THAI BEEF MEATBALLS

S2E5 THAI BEEF MEATBALLS 1S2E5 THAI BEEF MEATBALLS 2S2E5 THAI BEEF MEATBALLS 3S2E5 THAI BEEF MEATBALLS 4S2E5 THAI BEEF MEATBALLS 5S2E5 THAI BEEF MEATBALLS 6S2E5 THAI BEEF MEATBALLS 7S2E5 THAI BEEF MEATBALLS 8S2E5 THAI BEEF MEATBALLS 9

CRISPY CURRY PORK BELLY

S2E7 CRISPY CURRY PORK BELLY 1S2E7 CRISPY CURRY PORK BELLY 2S2E7 CRISPY CURRY PORK BELLY 3S2E7 CRISPY CURRY PORK BELLY 4S2E7 CRISPY CURRY PORK BELLY 5S2E7 CRISPY CURRY PORK BELLY 6S2E7 CRISPY CURRY PORK BELLY 7S2E7 CRISPY CURRY PORK BELLY 8S2E7 CRISPY CURRY PORK BELLY 9

PAD SEE EW

S2E9 PAD SEE EW 1S2E9 PAD SEE EW 2S2E9 PAD SEE EW 3S2E9 PAD SEE EW 4S2E9 PAD SEE EW 5

THAI CHICKEN AND RICE (KHAO MAN GAI)

S2E11 THAI CHICKEN AND RICE 1S2E11 THAI CHICKEN AND RICE 2S2E11 THAI CHICKEN AND RICE 3S2E11 THAI CHICKEN AND RICE 4S2E11 THAI CHICKEN AND RICE 5

SHRIMP PAD THAI

S2E13 SHRIMP PAD THAI

FRIED PORK AND BASIL (PAD KRAPOW MOO SAAP)

S2E15 FRIED PORK AND BASIL 1

SPICY VEGGIE SOUP

S3E1 SPICY VEGGIE SOUP 1S3E1 SPICY VEGGIE SOUP 2S3E1 SPICY VEGGIE SOUP 3S3E1 SPICY VEGGIE SOUP 4S3E1 SPICY VEGGIE SOUP 5

BEEF PAD THAI

S3E2 BEEF PAD THAI

CURRY CHICKEN FRIED RICE

S3E3 CURRY CHICKEN FRIED RICE 1S3E3 CURRY CHICKEN FRIED RICE 2S3E3 CURRY CHICKEN FRIED RICE 3S3E3 CURRY CHICKEN FRIED RICE 4S3E3 CURRY CHICKEN FRIED RICE 5

THAI BEEF NOODLES

S3E5 THAI BEEF NOODLES 1S3E5 THAI BEEF NOODLES 2S3E5 THAI BEEF NOODLES 3S3E5 THAI BEEF NOODLES 4

TOM YUM SOUP

S3E7 TOM YUM SOUP 1S3E7 TOM YUM SOUP 2S3E7 TOM YUM SOUP 21S3E7 TOM YUM SOUP 3S3E7 TOM YUM SOUP 4

GREEN CURRY CHICKEN

S3E9 GREEN CURRY CHICKENS3E9 GREEN CURRY CHICKEN 2S3E9 GREEN CURRY CHICKEN 3S3E9 GREEN CURRY CHICKEN 4S3E9 GREEN CURRY CHICKEN 5S3E9 GREEN CURRY CHICKEN 6

VEGGIE CURRY RICE

S3E11 VEGGIE CURRY RICE 1S3E11 VEGGIE CURRY RICE 2S3E11 VEGGIE CURRY RICE 3S3E11 VEGGIE CURRY RICE 4S3E11 VEGGIE CURRY RICE 5

THAI BEEF NOODLE SOUP

S3E13 THAI BEEF NOODLE SOUP 1S3E13 THAI BEEF NOODLE SOUP 2S3E13 THAI BEEF NOODLE SOUP 3S3E13 THAI BEEF NOODLE SOUP 4S3E13 THAI BEEF NOODLE SOUP 5

SPICY SHRIMP STIR-FRY

S3E15 SPICY SHRIMP STIR-FRY 1S3E15 SPICY SHRIMP STIR-FRY 2

SPICY CHICKEN CURRY NOODLE SOUP

S4E1 SPICY CHICKEN CURRY NOODLE SOUP 1S4E1 SPICY CHICKEN CURRY NOODLE SOUP 2S4E1 SPICY CHICKEN CURRY NOODLE SOUP 3S4E1 SPICY CHICKEN CURRY NOODLE SOUP 4S4E1 SPICY CHICKEN CURRY NOODLE SOUP 5

SPICY PORK CURRY NOODLE SOUP

S4E3 SPICY PORK CURRY NOODLE SOUP 1S4E3 SPICY PORK CURRY NOODLE SOUP 2S4E3 SPICY PORK CURRY NOODLE SOUP 3S4E3 SPICY PORK CURRY NOODLE SOUP 4S4E3 SPICY PORK CURRY NOODLE SOUP 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Games, Mobile App

Cooking Dash Glitch in Trial of Style and Series Finale

As all regular Cooking Dash players know, there had been a long Asian Series theme in Trial of Style mid-April until this earlier this month. One of the goals listed was unlocking a new venue – Pad Thai Pinball – only upon placing at the top 5th in 3 consecutive Trial of Styles.

I played my way to top 5th on the first and second Trial of Styles but, unfortunately, my progress had reset to zero when I was halfway through the third and last Trial of Style in the Asian Series. By the time the Asian Series Trial of Style was over, my stats only reflected my achievements for the third ToS.

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I contacted Glu Support about this but it seems they do not have a record of my 2 previous ToS achievements. I did place top 5th in the second ToS and was first on the third. I could only recall being somewhere in the top 5 for the first ToS. All they could give me was a few premium wheels and some 25 gold bars for my troubles.

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Unfortunately I was not able to keep a screenshot of my first and second Asian Series Trial of Style achievements. If you encounter a glitch like the one I experienced, remember to keep screenshots of your progress. As a result, they could not get the new venue unlocked for me.

The glitch only affected the Trial of Style progress and thankfully my gold bars, golden saucers, VIP tickets, etc, are still in the correct number.

The Asian Series Treasure Hunt was scheduled around the same time as the third and last Trial of Style.

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I had finished the Treasure Hunt goals a day before the third ToS and the glitch had also reset my Treasure Hunt achievements – it was like I never played it at all even though I did equip Flo with the item I won from the Treasure Hunt.

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I don’t know if anyone has already unlocked the new venue Pad Thai Pinball. But it seems it will be available soon for everyone who registers to Diner Dash Adventures.

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Another glitch concerns that of the recent Swine ‘n’ Dine Series Finale. I already earned the golden saucer for completing the Series Finale in the past.

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Another proof that supports this is that I was awarded the Series Finale completion for this time around.

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Yet when I go past the 4 seasons, the system shows me as not having played it at all.

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Posted in Finance, Mobile App, Telco

GCash Wallet Cap Exceeded

A GCash user would encounter the “Wallet Cap Exceeded” message when attempting to transact in the GCash mobile app beyond his or her monthly limit. There would also be a corresponding text message notification from 2882 which would appear to be something like, “Sorry, you will exceed your transaction limit. Please try a smaller amount.”

A Basic Member level in GCash has a transaction limit of PhP50,000 monthly while a Fully Verified Member can have incoming and outgoing transactions of up to PhP100,000 monthly. One person can have multiple GCash accounts, but GCash may as well mean the transaction limits apply to one person nothwithstanding the number of GCash accounts.

My GCash account shows up as Fully Verified in the GCash mobile app.

But every time I check my transaction history after the third week of the month, I would find my online purchase/ATM withdrawal/send money to another GCash user attempts would be halted when the amount hits PhP50,000.

Few years ago my sister had inquired about this with the support team at a Globe center and she was told my Fully Verified account is good for a PhP100,000 monthly transaction limit.

I recently am having this problem again and decided to send an e-mail to GCash Support earlier today to clarify.

Here’s what my GCash MasterCard and GCash AmEx statements currently looks like:

Hope GCash support can clarify.

UPDATE: MAY 14, 2019

GCash Support could not give me a clear answer at first until I pestered them to stop sending me templates which does not address my question properly.

I was then told that as a Fully Verified member I am allowed the PhP100,000 monthly transaction limit. What this means is if I cash in PhP50,000 plus worth in a month, I would have already reached my monthly transaction limit if I spend or transact away all of that amount from ATM withdrawals, bank transfers, money transfers to other GCash numbers, online purchases, shopping, etc. PhP50,000 cashed in and PhP50,000 cashed out equals PhP100,000.

I wish they would rectify the transaction limit table. Wallet Size makes it confusing as it can be misinterpreted as PhP100,000 allowable cash-in.

That clears up the GCash wallet cap exceeded issue. It’s still a good idea to either have multiple GCash accounts and get a PayMaya account, too.

 

Posted in Finance, Mobile App

MasterCard Payment Glitch

You might have had a similar experience I did regarding a MasterCard payment glitch when a POS swipe machine would register a ‘payment not accepted’ error. Probably you’ve had successful transactions using your MasterCard with a specific store and then suddenly two consecutive attempts on separate occasions deters you from swiping it again. Sometimes the problem would be in one specific store and the other stores seem to not have a problem with accepting payments from it.

I would normally purchase my afternoon tea or frappe at a McCafe nearby with a MasterCard but until two weeks ago I had to use my alternative Visa card because of the payment not accepted error. I could still use the MasterCard to pay for my groceries. It could be McDonald’s POS system not functioning properly but I attempted to use it the week after that and it was still unsuccessful.

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The curious thing was the same MasterCard is connected to my LINE Wallet and when I used my personal scan code (which I had set to automatically charge my MasterCard) for the Rabbit Line Pay machine, the payment came through just fine. So that rules out a possible system outage on the part of MasterCard.

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This is why sometimes having a mobile wallet is advantageous. I could not really point out where the real glitch came from and I was glad I was observant that there always had been a Rabbit Line Pay beside McCafe’s POS.

 

Posted in Mobile App, Travel

To Exchange Money Or Withdraw Abroad

Should I exchange my money before leaving? Or should I use the ATM abroad to withdraw abroad? The answer to that would depend on the currency of the country you’re heading to and try to do the USD/Your Home Country’s Currency and Currency of The Country You’re Visiting/USD exchange rate comparison.

On ATM Withdrawal:

For the past year up to the present, the USD to THB (Thai Baht) exchange rate fares well compared to PHP (Philippine Peso) to THB. My Payoneer MasterCard, for example, is in USD currency and if I use it to withdraw at an ATM in Thailand, I probably would get 200 baht more compared to using a GCash MasterCard to withdraw THB money which is in PHP currency by default.

An ATM in Thailand from a bank called Siam Commercial Bank (colour violet) would prompt me if I wanted to follow the bank’s conversion rate displayed on the screen. There also is an additional 220 baht withdrawal fee. From countless withdrawals with the SCB ATM machine, I noticed that choosing the option of NOT following the bank’s conversion rate was preferable. I also tried the Krungsri Bank ATM machine many times but it would not give me the option to view the bank’s conversion rate.

On Exchanging Currency:

I do not recommend exchanging money three ways. Stick to the bills on hand and exchange them at a currency exchanger WITHIN the city or locale you’re in. Exchanging my money at an airport almost always gets me 500 baht or 350,000 dong short. That’s a lot. Local currency exchangers (and legal ones, please) often have the best rates – the kind of rate that’s closest to what you would see on the XE mobile app.

Here’s the slip of a currency exchanger at the airport (arrivals) in Don Mueang:

scannable document on dec 2, 2018 at 4_57_46 pm

At the time, 1 VND was equivalent to 0.0013 on the XE mobile app. It fluctuates between 0.0012 and 0.0014. What’s interesting was when I exchanged my Vietnamese dong into Thai baht at a local exchanger in Ben Thanh Market before leaving HCM a month and a half ago, the rate they had was 1 VND = 0.0013 THB.

Before I left Thailand for HCM in early October, I went to a local exchanger to exchange my baht into dong. The rate of the local exchanger was similar to that of XE’s.

scannable document on dec 2, 2018 at 4_58_28 pm

Here are the details of the currency exchanger I recommend:

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Posted in Mobile App, Travel

Visa on Arrival Application in Vietnam

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For Philippine passport holders, you’ll be glad to know that tourist visa extension in Vietnam is not as long-winding as the visa extension process in Thailand. The longest period for applying for a visa on arrival for Philippine passport holders is 90 days and this could either be multiple entry or single entry visas. Philippine citizens can stay in Vietnam for 21 days on visa exemption.

You might encounter a few visa on arrival websites online for a longer stay in Vietnam but Vietnam Visa Easy is the one I prefer because of the affordable fees. Upon completing the form online via the Apply Now button, I would only wait 1 or 2 days to get an email reply if my visa on arrival application was approved or unsuccessful.

The replies I would usually get include the visa on arrival form along with the list of names of the visa on arrival applicants. Yes, you will see other applicants’ names and others approved will also see your name on the list. Few websites offer the option to exclude your name on the approved visa list for an additional fee , which means you get a more personalized approval letter with only your name on it. I do not really mind the idea of my name being on others’ approval letter but that’s just me. Whatever floats your boat.

Stamping fee assistance indicated as additional option in the Vietnam Visa Easy website is not the same as the stamping fee which you would still have to pay at the visa on arrival counter.

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Upon submitting the form at the visa on arrival counter, names would be called out via a television screen and you can expect to see your passport ID displayed too. Only then can you join the immigration queue for passport arrival stamp. Easy-peasy.

Posted in Android, Mobile App, Telco

GCash Mobile App Errors

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On Tuesday night my App Store prompted me for the latest GCash mobile app update, Version 5.11.1. When I opened the app the next day, I was greeted with several errors. I shouldn’t really be surprised as GCash mobile app update tend to bring a slew of bugs with it especially in connection with account verification issues.

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Even when it clearly says my account is fully verified, the app still prompts me to verify when I tapped on PayPal to attempt a cash-in.

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Thinking that tapping through the verification process would quickly take me to the cash-in page, I waited and waited and waited. I logged in and logged out of the app but I would still see the same message to wait 30 minutes.

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An hour passed and I wondered if the Android version had the same update. I opened the GCash mobile app on my Android phone and luckily for me I was able to proceed with my PayPal to GCash cash-in.

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Five or six hours later, I decided to check on my GCash app on my iPhone and I didn’t encounter the verification prompt anymore.

The lesson here is to make sure to open your GCash mobile app right after you finish the update. Or better yet keep an Android phone just in case.

 

 

Posted in Mobile App, Travel

Grab Pay By Moca

I get it that progress and change go together. Unfortunately, it was not a seamless transition from Grab Pay credits to Moca Wallet by Grab Vietnam.

My last week in Ho Chi Minh was beset by trivialities such as seeing my Grab Pay credits get replaced by a Moca Wallet activation and debating whether or not I should exchange my Vietnamese dong into Thailand baht within HCM. Things have a way of working out to your favor by the time you’re done stressing over it but the Grab Pay by Moca problem still confounds me so I hope this helps anyone who’s encountered the same problem I did.

So, where did my Grab Pay credits go? When I tapped on Activate for Moca wallet, I had this inkling it would involve locally issued ATM cards. I knew this from attempting to register to a number of Vietnamese mobile apps which usually exclude international cards from being linked to the mobile app account. Moca Wallet was no different.

I could still pay rides using my GCash MasterCard or GCash AmEx by changing the payment method before confirming a Grab ride booking. I tried it with a few discounted rides (ones which charged me 0 VND) until I booked a Grab Bike ride with a promo code which required 2,000 VND to pay, which is like Php5 or PhP6. It was strange that my GCash MasterCard could not successfully deduct Php5 since I’ve used it before to top up Grab Pay credits in Vietnam and have used it in Thailand for paying Grab rides. I had PhP1, 750 in my GCash balance.

 

I thought it was a MasterCard-related issue or a GCash faux pas. I tried it with GCash AmEx and with a Visa card issued by another bank and I still would get the Unsuccessful error message.

Processed with MOLDIV

 

Like other Grabbers in Vietnam, I was left with no choice but to continue with cash when I took a Grab ride to the international airport.

But, lo and behold, shortly upon arriving Don Mueang International Airport in Thailand, I got the long-awaited “Success” message. Of course, I inserted my AIS sim back in the plane and once I disabled Airplane Mode I updated my Grab profile’s country and sim number.

The app prompted me the 2,000 VND outstanding balance before I could book a ride. I re-entered my AmEx number as I intended to use it for pay with the airport to hotel fare with the same card. It didn’t even take me many attempts to be able to see the “Success” message. I received a text notification of the amount deducted.

Grab Support reached out to me again to follow up my concern. I replied that the problem was solved once I was in another territory and pointed out that the REAL problem was Grab Vietnam’s forceful Moca wallet activation.

 

Posted in Finance, Mobile App

iCloud Storage Renewal Payment Method Declined Error

Few days ago I contacted iTunes Support for my problem in renewing my 50GB iCloud storage. The error had to do with my payment method being declined. I received a prompt response but not a satisfactory answer.

I purchased a track on iTunes on September 30th and the MasterCard which has always been listed on my Apple ID has been successfully charged the corresponding amount. Three or fours after it was already October 1st and I received an e-mail:

On 30/09/2018, we attempted to charge you for your 50 GB iCloud storage plan, but there is a problem with your payment information. Your account will be downgraded to the free 5 GB storage plan if we cannot successfully renew your subscription.

Before I was able to open my mail,  I was able to buy some gold bars in Candy Crush. Now, purchases have to be verified by an Apple ID password before they go through. It’s odd that my other in-app purchases would go through except the iCloud storage renewal.

I followed the usual steps to update the billing information on my Apple ID. I tried it thrice and the payment method declined error persisted. I contacted iTunes support and I was told the same answers which I already knew and tried prior to getting their response but those didn’t work.

One tip they would insist on is the name and billing address should match etc etc. My billing name on Apple ID does not match what the MasterCard says but my purchases went through before that (including the iCloud storage renewal).

The unaddressed problem here either lies with iCloud’s or MasterCard’s but, of course, iTunes Support cannot address that.

I solved the problem by changing my card on file to an American Express. Mind you, the billing name and postcode on file does not even match with that of my AmEx’s.