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.
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.
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. Despite Agoda’s high exchange rates, I would still suggest using a MasterCard.
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.
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.
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 – email@example.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. I should warn you, though, that it is pointless to contact PayMaya’s email support or message them via FB Messenger (PayMaya Cares). I once contacted PayMaya via email and they only replied to me after a week and the customer service agents made the situation even worse because their replies were all false promises and lies. With PayMaya it is best to wait for the disputed funds to be available. Don’t waste time contacting them unless it is for an upgrade follow-up.
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.
I would occasionally get coupons or discounts with my GCash account but I could not use them overseas. PayMaya has a lot of promos and rebates especially when I’m using my PayMaya physical card to buy groceries or swipe my card for in-store purchases. I received PhP1,000 in September 2019 and in October 2019 I got rebates of almost 100%.