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 Mobile App, Technology

Viber and WhatsApp Chat Messengers For Unlimited Calls and Texts

Sending free SMS in this age has never been easier. A number of mobile applications for iPhone and Android have been developed which allow smartphone users to quickly send unlimited SMS and make international calls for free. Some cellular phone users who have made the switch to either Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, or Windows Phone are sometimes not aware there are such free chat messenger mobile apps. Frequently they just hear about them via word of mouth; to avail of free texts and free calls, the receiver of the text message or the call must also have the same chat messenger app installed on their smartphones.

With the ubiquitous presence of WiFi in malls, universities, schools, and restaurants, it has become convenient to send text messages via these chat messenger mobile apps on the go. At the onset, it was only possible to send a free text message or make a free call to international users using a WiFi connection. With the emergence of 4G LTE, app users can already send free text messages and free calls even if they’re using a 3G or 4G LTE signal.


It was in mid-2011 when I first heard of the mobile app, Viber, from a friend in Australia. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the violet Free Text and Free Call buttons after I downloaded it. But it was real!

It’s easy to connect with friends using Viber. You can download it via the App Store in iPhone, Google Play Store if you have an Android smartphone, BlackBerry App World for your BlackBerry, or Marketplace for your Windows Phone. Once downloaded you can click on the app to register your mobile number. It automatically recognizes the country code your SIM number’s network belongs to so all you have to enter is the remaining digits. You will then receive a text message with the 4-digit code which you will promptly enter to finish your mobile number registration. Your friends who use either of the three smartphone models I mentioned, have listed you as a contact, and have Viber already installed will receive this notification: joined Viber and now you can call and text each other for free! Why not send a free welcome text message?

Even though Viber now works with a 3G or 4G LTE for sending free SMS to your Viber contacts, it is still recommended to use the WiFi connection when making free calls. Just make sure to click on the violet Free Call or Free Text button within your Viber contact’s  profile info so you won’t be charged by your local network for the local and international SMS and calls!

Research in Motion, the makers of BlackBerry, currently still has a Beta version for Viber Messenger, which means that only the Free Text option is available for the meantime for BlackBerry users.

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