Sunday, December 15, 2019

#GrabPay Cashless Challenge: I went Cashless for a Week

As the title indicated, I went cashless for one week as part of a challenge issued to me by the peeps at GrabPay. And let's just wasn't as bad or as easy as it seemed. Perplexed? Yeah, that was me during that whole one week.

Shall we go back to the beginning? I was given Grabpay credits to go about my daily lifestyle for one week and this was to cover my food, transportation and paying for just about anything I needed. Also basically for every purchase or exchange made with Grabpay, I got to collect points and rise through its tiers to ultimate premiumhood. Along the way, I had to complete two challenges which included buying a gift for a loved one or myself and grocery shopping for meal prep.

At the first mention of meal prep, I thought easy. I do it every week! Or so I thought at the start of the challenge. I was at first aghast to find that Jaya Grocer and Aeon (my usual supermarkets) didn't accept Grabpay. Then I learnt that Cold Storage, Tesco, Mydin and Giant accepted Grabpay and with the excitement of a kid heading to the candy store, I headed down to the nearest Cold Storage to my house.

I decided to head over to the cashier first just to clarify. "Hi, do you accept Grabpay?" The look of confusion on her face was soon my first cue that this challenge wasn't going to be as easy as it seemed. I ended up coming back a different day to grab my meal prep ingredients after some clarifications were made with the Grab people. And yes, Cold Storage do accept Grabpay, people! 

As the week went by, I soon encountered a similar situation at Petron when I went to pump petrol, once again, the station attendant gave me a blur look and instead told me they accept other e-wallets. I would have given him a facepalm if I wasn’t in a rush and I ended up paying with my debit card instead. Still cashless kan?

Apart from the initial lack of awareness at Cold Storage and Petron, I was actually surprised to see Grabpay accepted at unexpected places like in Isetan the Japan Store, Lot 10. I had dropped in to buy a birthday present for my mother as her birthday was approaching and ended up walking away with over RM200 worth of hair accessories for her. All paid for with Grabpay and contributing further to my rise through the tiers. Bwahahahaha!

And oh, my mum was pleasantly surprised by her present seeing as I gifted it to her a month early. Nailing the surprise element of surprise gift.

Overall, paying with Grabpay had been a breeze. I just needed to bring out my phone, scan the QR code or have the merchant scan my barcode and done! Of course, there was that one time when the coffee shop uncle gave me a WTF look when I asked him, "Hello, uncle. Do you accept Grabpay ah?" I ended up handing over my cash instead.

After that, I just decided to Grabfood lunch to my office instead of walking out to eat. Two out of three times - my food came pretty promptly and within a reasonable time limit. I even ordered all the way from Ben's Charcoal Chicken in Bangsar to my office in Bukit Bintang and even though it took an hour to arrive and after four delivery partner change, I got it in the end. I was in fact so jubilant and grateful to the delivery partner that I gave him a tip via the Grab app. That's right, you can tip your delivery guy now using Grabpay. It removes that awkward 'here, take my tip, I insist,' moment between you and the delivery partner. What a nice incentive.

But of course, not everything was roses and daisies with using Grabfood. There was an incident where I ordered Kenny Rogers (a ten minutes walk from my office actually) and it took an hour to arrive because the delivery guy was taking another job between mine. By the time my roasted chicken was on its way, I had to have him drop it off at the McDonalds nearby where I was inhaling my lunch rapidly. But if it helps justify the cashless challenge, I didn't use cash and instead paid with my bank app.

Needless to say for the rest of the week, I played safe and stuck to eating my meal prep for lunch. It was a rotation of smoked duck salad with candied walnuts, mandarin oranges and cheese in the office or hiding out at my favourite Japanese soup curry place, Curee on one of the days.

Imagine my excitement to find that Curee offered a lunch set with their soup curry, accepted Grabpay and was also available on Grabfood. Even my favourite hangout places, MyPizzaLab and MyBurgerlab are on Grab and treating my friends to pizzas to celebrate my newly changed employment status was easy with Grabpay. Plus I get to collect even MOAR points for my rise to premium level.

You might be wondering how did I overcame situations that only accepted cash like the kopitiam or pasar malam. Quite literally, that's what friends are for. As my walking ATMs. My kind wonderful friends would pay for me first and I would be either transfer credits back to them via Grabpay or whatever QRcode/bank-transfer they prefer. Either that or I would treat them to something else after. While going cashless of course.

I would have flopped so hard in this challenge if it wasn't for my friends and family.

TL:DR, leading a cashless lifestyle is possible in Malaysia but only through a mix and match variety of platforms, e-wallets, apps and bank cards. It would take time for the coffee shop, mamak, makcik, pakcik kedai runcit and roadside merchants, sellers and vendors to get on board the cashless payment system, let alone pick one dominating e-wallet system. However as for as a near complete eco-system for going cashless, Grabpay is in the lead so far with its combination of e-wallet, food delivery, ride-sharing and more to come. 

So until, let us wait and just Grab la. 

Oh ya, I did achieve premium level on the Grab app after treating my sisters to dinner at An Viet and Llaollao. Someone even commented I've become increasingly generous since embarking on this cashless challenge. Hmmm I wonder why. Now excuse me while I redeem my Frozen 2 movie pass at MBO again courtesy of Grab Rewards.

Some important info about GrabPay:
● GrabPay e-wallet is accepted in 8 cities across Malaysia: - Klang Valley, Penang, Johor Bahru, Ipoh, Melaka, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Kuantan.
● GrabPay’s merchants range from F&B and hypermarkets to health & beauty retailers and more. Keep an eye out for sign or just ask. I find that works best.
● GrabPay Credits adds value to every Ringgit spent, earning users GrabRewards points
which can be used on the GrabRewards catalogue. Hello, premium tier!

For more info, go to for more deets on Grab and Grabpay.

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