If you’re a heavy GrabPay user, it’s only a matter of time before you come up against the S$30,000 annual transaction limit.
This isn’t a Grab-specific restriction. Rather, it’s imposed by the MAS under its Payment Services Act, and applies to all other Singapore e-wallets as well, such as Revolut and YouTrip. The limit resets every calendar year (i.e. on 1 January), and additional restrictions on single, daily and monthly transactions apply.
|💳 GrabPay Card Limits
|Single trxn. limit
|Daily trxn. limit
|Monthly trxn. limit
(based on calendar month)
|Annual trxn. limit
(based on calendar year)
|Daily trxn. count
|Daily ATM withdrawal limit
|Monthly ATM withdrawal limit
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the annual transaction limit, since it’s the ultimate ceiling. Why does it matter, how does it work, and what happens when you hit it?
Why is the GrabPay limit important?
Given the anaemic GrabRewards programme (which somehow manages to get worse all the time), why would anyone spend anything close to S$30,000 via GrabPay in the first place?
Simple answer: GrabPay allows you to earn credit card rewards on transactions which would normally not qualify, like insurance premiums and income tax. Instead of paying a fee to use a platform like CardUp or Citi PayAll, you could top up your GrabPay balance and use it to pay bills on AXS.
|💸 AXS- Supported Payments
This, of course, is contingent on earning rewards on the GrabPay top-up itself. While the vast majority of cards have nerfed GrabPay top-ups, there’s still three options left for miles or cashback.
|💳 Cards for GrabPay Top-Ups
|AMEX HighFlyer Card
|Only for owners of SMEs
|AMEX True Cashback Card
|UOB Absolute Cashback Card
In other words, you can earn up to 1.7% cashback or 1.8 mpd on your bills, with no fee.
AXS transactions don’t earn GrabRewards points, but that was never the point. The whole idea is to use GrabPay as a conduit for turning S$30,000 of ineligible spend into points-earning transactions. That’s why the annual limit matters.
What counts towards the annual limit?
The following transactions will count towards the GrabPay Wallet’s S$30,000 annual transaction limit:
- Using the GrabPay Wallet balance to make payments
- All GrabPay Card transactions
- All fund transfers from your GrabPay Wallet to another GrabPay Wallet, e-wallet or bank account (except fund transfers made to your bank account via a PayNow number linked to your Grab account)
How do I know when I’m approaching the limit?
An in-app tracker will appear once you’ve exceeded 75% of your GrabPay annual limit, i.e. S$22,500.
Once you’ve hit the limit, the following message will be displayed.
What happens once you hit the $30,000 limit?
Once the annual GrabPay limit is hit, you can still top-up your GrabPay balance, but cannot make any further transactions using your GrabPay Wallet, PayLater or GrabPay Card.
You will still be able to transfer any GrabPay balance to your bank account via PayNow, provided it’s a transferrable balance.
|💰 GrabPay Balances
|Source of Balance
Do note that top-ups from credit cards are non-transferrable balances. This means you should pay close attention to your GrabPay annual limit; for example, if you’re S$100 shy of the limit and top-up S$1,000, S$900 will be unusable until the start of the next calendar year.
What about PayLater?
If you use PayLater, you’ll know that the standard procedure each month is for the consolidated amount to be deducted from your GrabPay balance. If your GrabPay balance is insufficient, an automatic top-up will be triggered before the bill is deducted.
But what if you’ve exceeded your S$30,000 annual limit?
Here’s where it gets complicated. Grab told me (via a spokesperson) that in this case, the linked credit or debit card would be automatically debited with the GrabPay wallet as a passthrough. In other words- no topping up required.
At the end of the month, transactions will be consolidated into a single bill so that consumers can settle the bill using their linked credit / debit card.
Consumer can choose to fix default wallet as passthrough, which charge directly to credit/debit card added to the GrabPay wallet. Hence if you pass the 30K cap on GrabPay transactions, this methods allow you to pay with the linked credit/debit card instead.
But that’s not what happened for me. When my PayLater bill came due, the automatic credit card deduction failed (there was nothing wrong with the card itself), my PayLater account was suspended, and I was billed an admin fee.
In fact, even after paying the balance manually via bank transfer, the system was still trying to charge me the outstanding amount, plus the S$10 admin fee!
Grab later contacted me to explain that American Express cards are currently not supported as a passthrough payment, hence the failed deduction. If you ask me, they need to make that a lot more clear in the app- especially when all three remaining miles/cashback-awarding cards belong to the AMEX network!
I will be very annoyed if this has any impact on my credit score…
What if a transaction is refunded?
A refunded transaction will not restore your annual limit. For example, if you make a S$2,000 payment via GrabPay which is subsequently refunded, your remaining annual limit will still be S$28,000.
GrabPay has a S$30,000 annual transaction limit which, if used judiciously, could be an opportunity to earn 54,000 miles or S$510 cashback on transactions which would otherwise not qualify.
If you’ve reached the limit on your GrabPay account, one workaround is to use your points/cashback-earning credit card to top-up the account of a family member, then use the family member’s GrabPay account to transact.
Your annual limit is precious. Save it for transactions that don’t normally earn rewards!