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.

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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.

 

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Posted in Mobile App, Travel

Can I Use Grab Overseas?

 

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So you’re planning a trip outside of the Philippines but just within Southeast Asia and you’re asking yourself, can I use Grab overseas? The answer is yes. But can I use Grab overseas and still have my Grab rewards points intact? The answer is also yes.

Sometime last year I went out of the country and used my Grab mobile app overseas. This entailed a change to the local sim card and when I landed in NAIA 3 after my trip, I saw my Grab rewards points restarted to zero even though I had the same email address with which I registered my Grab account with. No one in Grab Support could satisfactorily address my concern.

Since they overhauled their system, the option to link one’s Grab account to a Google account or a Facebook account has become available. This feature helped keep the rewards points intact even if you are changing your Philippine sim card to a local one. I’ve done this in Thailand and Vietnam. I would insert my Thai or Vietnam sim card once I arrive at the airport or at the land border. As I had emphasized in this article, I do recommend using a local sim if you plan to get around as much as you can in Southeast Asia where Grab transport service is available. I cannot stress enough how it is the safest option for tourists.

The catalog for rewards points redeemable vary from one country to another. I had wanted that iFlix subscription for 1 year for Platinum Members worth 2,100 points but the Grab Vietnam market does not offer it as it was only available in the Philippines.

Posted in Finance, Mobile App, Travel

Withdrawing Funds Using RCBC MyWallet Overseas

When traveling overseas we may overlook the fact that not all debit cards can be used in a lot of ATM machines. I would always recommend to bring two or more debit cards. I currently have the GCash MasterCard and RCBC MyWallet for the meantime.

I also have my PayMaya physical card which is already linked to my verified PayMaya virtual card account but I am excluding it for now because of the Ph500 roaming fee my Smart postpaid account would automatically charge me once I insert my SIM to a working phone here while being overseas. As PayMaya now requires a text verification upon logging in to the PayMaya mobile app, I don’t think it’s worth it using my Smart postpaid SIM when I have two other debit card alternatives.

In Thailand, I could withdraw funds from my GCash MasterCard in most ATM machines. Most 7-Eleven stores in Thailand have ATM machines outside the premises but you have to also make sure the ATM machine is not that of a local bank. As for the RCBC MyWallet, I have tried withdrawing cash from it in both Siam Commercial Bank and Krungsri ATM machines and have been able to transact successfully.

I should also like to mention that solely depending on GCash MasterCard is not a good option because of the monthly withdrawal limit. There were times when I’ve reached my limit in GCash on the last day of the month and I had to wait for the next day, the first day of the next month, to do a withdrawal. In case waiting might pose a hassle for you, it’s good to have other options too.

It gets tricky here in Vietnam for the RCBC MyWallet. Techcom Bank, BIDV Bank, Lienviet Post Bank, Vietcom Bank and Maritime Bank are the most common ATM machines I could run into and GCash would be accepted in all of these. The only ATM where I found I could use my RCBC MyWallet is that of VP Bank. Unlike Vietcom and Techcombank, you won’t come across VP Bank ATM machines in most big malls. I had to research VP Bank ATM locations online.

I do find my travelling situation to be unique but I hope this has helped anyone who has trouble finding a bank in Vietnam they can withdraw their funds with using RCBC MyWallet.

Posted in Lifestyle, Travel

Where To Buy Cheap Luggage in Bangkok

If you’ve come to this page for information on where to buy cheap (but quality) luggage in Bangkok, then I am sure you’ve also encountered other Google search results about travel forums talking about the same topic. I also know that one of the advice you read from those travel forums mentions MBK as one of those places where you can buy cheap luggage in Bangkok. I did go to MBK my first time here in Bangkok and even though you can haggle with the small store owners, I would not recommend it and I am writing this to give you, readers, another convenient option.

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MBK

 

There is no shortage of buying cheap luggage in Bangkok and hailing from the Philippines myself and once in a while trying to convert my baht into pesos in my head, I have come to know the difference. My first stay in Bangkok was in May this year for two weeks and I arrived here in Nonthaburi (same place I stayed at before) on July 2nd and am about to leave on July 30th, that’s in two days from now.  During these two separate visits, I have bought 2 luggages.

When I tried going to MBK because Caucasian and European travelers alike deemed it as one of the best places to buy cheap luggage in Bangkok, I was questioning myself whether or not it was worth heeding that travel forum advice. Since I stayed in Nonthaburi in May, it was quite a travel by taxi to get to MBK. I had to pay for the toll fee once, which the Grab driver was kind enough to let me know. MBK is huge and I did scout each floors for stores selling luggages and after two hours I was not so impressed. So, yeah, you better think twice about what you read on travel forums these days.

I did find a decent page to buy cheap luggage in Bangkok, though. I tried browsing through Lazada.com’s Thailand page. I already have a Lazada account from the Philippines and I did have to sign up again by using my Google sign-in credentials, too. It was shipped to my apartment within two days and best of all, delivery was free. I bought it for 999 Baht; the ones I found in MBK were around 1500 Baht. I did get a better deal and I did not have to go out, pay for the fare and toll fees because the luggage was delivered right to my doorstep.

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My second luggage purchase from Lazada Thailand was priced at 890 Baht. I bought it just this month. You have to be aware of the dimensions you want in a luggage. The item description in the website is not lacking in that info. And, yes, I also did get it within two days from ordering it at Lazada Thailand’s website.

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If you’re staying more than a week in Bangkok and need to replace your luggage, try to browse through Lazada Thailand. Make sure you tick the option “Ships from Bangkok/Thailand”.

UPDATE: May 1, 2018

Just an FYI to anyone still searching for keywords related to this article, I have been using the 2 luggages I bought in Lazada Thailand for 10 months already and I have been consistently moving from one country to another on an average of every two months or so. Both luggages are still intact despite being constantly on the road.

Posted in Mobile App, Travel

Grab vs Uber in Thailand

I have only ever used the Uber mobile app for the first time when I arrived here in Bangkok a week ago. I had Uber downloaded on my phone about a year ago but could only use GrabTaxi in my hometown.

Upon clearing immigration at the Don Mueang International Airport, I opened Maps to ask for directions from the airport to the place I was staying. Under Ride, UberX mainly comes up along with the fare information. I paid ฿300 for the 20-minute UberX ride. I didn’t even think of comparing the fare with the Grab mobile app as I was in a hurry to leave there. The fact that Uber was integrated within the Maps app is an advantage for Uber.

Seven days, 2 Grab rides and 7 UberX rides later, I can say I’ve mostly had a more pleasant experience with Grab than Uber. Don’t let the quantity fool you. I’d had to raise the issue to Support about being prompted to pay ฿300 again for that first UberX ride. As explained in their Help section, I was apparently overcharged because of a technical issue:

For compensation, we’ve added THB 300 Uber credit to your account to reflect the difference in the amount you paid and what the trip fare should have been. Please note this Uber credit will automatically apply to your next trip fare.
However, In order to make an adjustment for a cash fare, we need you to first settle this outstanding balance. Please note that you will be unable to request rides until this balance is paid.
To pay your account balance, please sign in to your account. You can use a payment method on your account to pay your balance before you request your next trip. Here’s how it works:
1. When you try to request a trip, your app will notify you that your account is in arrears.
2. You’ll be prompted to add a credit or debit card to your Uber account.
3. After you’ve added a card, you can select it as your payment method to pay your arrears in full.

It makes sense to use up my Uber credits than to use Grab more.

What I don’t like about the Uber mobile app, though, is the inability to change my cellular number on file. When I tried to change it, it prompted me to make another account which is totally unnecessary. I don’t know why it would not recognise my Thailand cellular number, even if it’s just a traveler’s sim card. With Grab, I could switch my number on file to the Thai number, despite the latter being a traveler’s sim. Just had to emphasize that.

I also notice way too many glitches with the Uber mobile app. This resulted in so many cancellations by Uber drivers. For a 10-minute walk back to the hotel, it would take me an hour or so to successfully get an Uber ride. I could walk the way back, if only I weren’t carrying some groceries.