(UPDATE) Review: PayMaya Arrives in Davao City, And I Tried it!

PayMaya has arrived in Davao City!

Last October 10, executives and staff from Smart Communications Inc's financial innovation unit Smart eMoney visited Davao City and met with select local media members and bloggers to formally introduce their new digital payment service to the people of Davao, the PayMaya Visa Card. This PayMaya is powered by Visa and aims to enable those users who want to do online and offline shopping but do not have credit cards yet, for free.

 Why Bother to go to Davao and Introduce this PayMaya?
Thankfully, Lawrence Ferrer, Vice President at Smart eMoney, has an awesome and right-on-the-spot answer, and he said "“Davao has all the elements to make it a strong center of eCommerce in the region. It has a growing young population that is tech-­savvy. They have increasing access to the internet and they are very aware of digital and its opportunities,” . These people from Smart eMoney really realize the potential of digital and online platform especially in the Philippines, I just hope that more and more local companies also realize this and also make a significant shift from the traditional way of selling goods and services to this new shopping experience.

So you've been wanting to buy a smartphone or an accessory that is only exclusively sold online? Or perhaps, taking advantage of the current airline travel promo you spotted today in the internet but having no credit card is what really stopping you from doing so? With the help of the new virtual PayMaya Visa card, #NowYouCan.

Like I mentioned above, PayMaya is a free service from Smart eMoney, all users have to do is just download the Android or iOS app from their respective apps store, register with their mobile number and they are good to go for online booking they've been dying to sign up to.

How to register, get your virtual PayMaya Visa card number and start shopping

These amazing people from Smart eMoney are very generous enough to give us an initial Php500 credit on our PayMaya account to try out its power and share with all of you (our readers) our experience using the service and possibly provide some feedback about it.

How to get started:

  1. First thing you need to do is download the PayMaya app. This is available both for Android and iOS devices. Once downloaded and launched, you will be greeted with the screen below.

  2. Then, next thing you will do is hit the "Register" button and provide the necessary information in the next screen. Full name, mobile number and your chosen-password should be provided upon sign up.

  3. When you are done with registration, you will be sent a verification code via SMS which then you will use to confirm your PayMaya Visa activation in the app next time you login.

  4. As soon as the PayMaya Visa card account is activated in the app, your virtual PayMaya Visa Card number will be immediately generated which will include the 16-digit number, expiration date and the CVV code. By then, your account  is now available for use.
Just as easy and fast as that, no waiting and approving game is involved in here. This is just one of the experiences I like about this new product. Of course, this account has to have funds first before you can use it on your first transaction, read on to see how and where to load up funds to your PayMaya account.

Where and How to Load up Funds to your PayMaya Visa account

There are actually a couple of ways on how to add funds to your PayMaya account, via the following list below.
  • Smart Stores
  • Smart Padala Centers
  • Robinson's Business Centers
  • 7-Eleven Stores (soon)
  • Smartmoney (in-app funds transfer feature)
Yes you read the last option right, funds can also be transferred from a Smartmoney account. I use Smartmoney so this option to load up PayMaya account is a plus for me. With Smartmoney, I can just go to a BDO bank to add funds and then have it transferred to my PayMaya. If you don't have a Smartmoney account yet, don't worry reloading through banks will also be added in the future for PayMaya users, until then you can just visit any other participating establishments to top up your account.

What else can I do with my PayMaya?

Apart from doing online transactions, there are other things you can do with your virtual PayMaya Visa card account and those are listed below.
  • Buy regular load under 'shop' tab (Autoload)
  • Buy pre-registered (Autoload (Alltext, ... )
  • Pay bills (soon)
  • PayMaya to PayMaya Funds transfer (upgrade required)

You can also transfer funds to other PayMaya users and another good thing about this particular feature is the recipient does not need to provide the whole 16-digit PayMaya Visa card number. They can just use the registered mobile number to do the transfer, how convenient and secure is that?

How to transfer from Smartmoney to PayMaya
  • Go to the Smart Money SIM Menu
  • Select Transfers
  • Select Others
  • Enter 8877+Mobile Number of the PayMaya load recipient. (ex. 88779181234567). Remember to take out the '0'
  • Send the load-up amount you provided in cash.
Why upgrade

There are a lot other perks you can enjoy when you upgrade your PayMaya account. One of those is that it is free of charge. It's free to upgrade your account and all you have to do is provide additional details and present a copy of your government-issued ID. You will also get a physical PayMaya Visa card upon upgrade which you can use at any shop not just in the Philippines but also in other parts of the world that accept Visa card as mode of payment. And then funds transfer feature is also activated after the upgrade.

How to upgrade

The first thing you have to do to upgrade is click on the option menu within the PayMaya app and select "upgrade now". After that you will then be prompted to provide additional details for upgrade like your address and upload a copy of your government-issued ID within the app.

Once your upgrade request is confirmed, the next and final thing you need to do is claim your physical PayMaya Visa card at a Smart Wireless Center. Here in Davao, it is at Smart Jump Store at SM Lanang Premier. The card is available immediately and you will be assisted on linking this card to your PayMaya app. While the upgrade is free of charge, you will still need to pay Php100 upon claiming your card but once the card is activated this Php100 will be added to your account.

One other thing about this PayMaya Visa card is that it's powered with beep which means it can be used for payments of MRT and LRT fares in Metro Manila.

Final thoughts

I have been using this PayMaya for a few days now and have already made transactions both online and offline. I have to say that so far every purchase and payment I have made was all smooth and fast. There was sms notification sent to me for every successful transaction I made. Right now I am enjoying my Spotify Premium subscription because of this PayMaya, I was also able to make some in-app purchases on my favorite Android apps and many others. I will definitely continue using this PayMaya account alongside with my Smartmoney. The mobile app companion is very easy to use as well and packed with some security features I was able to notice, and those are...

  • You cannot screencapture the app
  • You are automatically logged out when you exit the app
  • The app only works when connected to the internet
I really recommend this PayMaya Visa card. It's fast, easy and secure. And like I have mentioned above, it is both available for Android and iOS devices and is not exclusive to Smart users, even Globe subscribers can also register to PayMaya.

UPDATE: March 31, 2016.

Yesterday I was trying to make a purchase from a website where my order was in US dollar currency. Using my PayMaya, the account was keep on declining and the payment wouldn't go through for some reason, now at this moment I was very sure that all the details I provided were accurate and that I had more than enough funds to cover my transaction. And I have to say, this is the first and only issue I've had with PayMaya so far. So I contacted their support team at support@paymaya.com to see if there was a problem with my account or on their system, a few email exchanges took place to point down the issue. I was told they would look into it and see what the problem was, and up until right now I am still to receive response from them regarding this problem I am having.

My Theory

If I remember it right, I read somewhere that some users were having problem completing their transactions online where the transaction amount was not in Philippine currency. So I was thinking, maybe this was the issue but I could be wrong. Now prior to this, I have been using my PayMaya account in a number of online-based transactions but did not encounter any problem, however I realized all of them were in Philippine peso. I will definitely wait for a solution (and explanation) from PayMaya team about this, and when I got one, I will update this article as soon as possible to let you guys know.

My Temporary Fix

I really needed to complete the online transaction I was doing as it was a very important one. Thankfully, I still have my Smartmoney account with me and still active, I thought of using this instead to see if I would still get the same error. So I withdrew the funds from my PayMaya account through a BDO ATM machine (which cost me Php15), and then deposited that to my Smartmoney account. Moments later, the funds reflected on my Smartmoney account.

I went online, reprocessed the order using my Smartmoney account this time. And yes, it did work, my order is now being processed.

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