PayMaya and GCash are the biggest rivals in the Philippine mobile wallet market today. These e-wallet apps enable Filipinos—especially those without bank accounts and credit cards—to make cashless transactions.
These apps have been popular over the past few years, as more Filipinos have embraced online shopping. A lot of online retailers and shops have also decided to include mobile wallets in their payment options. Add to that the fact that the pandemic has forced people to stay home, which means that going online and cashless is the safest way to transact.
If you have never used a digital wallet but want to try one, you’re probably searching PayMaya vs GCash online to know which is the better mobile wallet app. This Battle of the Brands edition looks closely at the difference between PayMaya and GCash, the two leading mobile money services in the Philippines.
Mobile App Usage and Ranking
Which mobile wallet is used more in the Philippines? While having more users doesn’t make an app superior to the other, it does speak about the app’s popularity and to some extent, trustworthiness.
If an app has garnered lots of users, it may mean that people have found something useful and helpful in it. A lot of these users have even shared the wonders of the said app with their family and friends, thus resulting in more users.
At the end of 2020, the number of registered GCash users has grown to over 33 million. This is 65% higher compared to its 20 million users back in 2019.
Meanwhile, PayMaya ended 2020 with 28 million users. The company says that the cashless transactions made by Filipinos through the app have consistently registered triple-digit growth rates throughout last year.
In terms of app usage, GCash is ahead of PayMaya. According to data from SimilarWeb (as of April 8, 2021), GCash tops the list of popular finance Android apps in the Philippines while PayMaya is on the 10th spot. On the Apple App Store, GCash still ranks number one while PayMaya is on the third spot.
Which is safer to use: PayMaya or GCash?
As PayMaya and GCash are mobile wallets regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, they’re bound by a stringent agreement to ensure secure transactions for their customers. Both are expected to adopt the latest technology not just to protect private users but also the billers and merchants.
Both have strict log-in protocols to make sure that only registered and verified users are accessing their account. For the ultimate personalization of security, GCash and PayMaya have their respective biometric login feature, which requires users to use their fingerprint as a log-in credential. Only GCash, however, has a Face ID log-in feature.
Both GCash and PayMaya use two-factor authentication. This ensures that the user is the only person accessing the account.
When it comes to their physical cards, both use EMV chip cards. Cards with EMV chips are much more secure than traditional cards, as the latter uses unchanging data that can be replicated and used by fraudsters. Every time you use your EMV card for your purchases, it creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again.
By principle, GCash and PayMaya should be safe, as they comply with industry standards. Though, one may consider that GCash wins by a hair because of its Facial ID feature.
Both PayMaya and GCash accept subscribers from any mobile network—be it Globe, Smart, Sun, TM, or TNT. If you’re a Globe subscriber, for example, you can create a PayMaya account with your Globe number. The same goes for Smart subscribers who want to use GCash.
GCash offers more options for creating an account through the GCash app, *143# menu, Messenger app, and its website. Registration for a PayMaya account can be done only through its mobile app.
However, there are GCash users who complain about the inconvenient verification process. Sometimes, verification through Messenger could take more than a week. Some users also had to undergo the Know Your Customer (KYC) process at a Globe Store or GCash partner outlet, so they could get fully verified.
Strangely, other GCash users didn’t encounter any problem with verifying their account, as they claimed they completed the verification process through the app.
GCash could do a better job at communicating and clarifying what users should exactly do to verify their account. Of course, it’s best if customers won’t have to spend time going to a mall just for GCash account verification.
On the other hand, PayMaya provides a smoother experience, from creating an account to upgrading it and getting a physical prepaid card. The KYC process for upgrading a PayMaya account is done completely on the app, making it more convenient for users.
Mobile Wallet App Features
When choosing between PayMaya vs GCash, an important factor to consider is which app offers the financial services you need. The more features a mobile wallet app has, the more useful it is to customers.
Both PayMaya and GCash users can perform a wide range of financial transactions, including money transfer, bills payment, and cashless shopping. These online payment apps have also evolved into lifestyle apps, enabling customers to buy games, movie tickets, and airline tickets with just a few smartphone taps.
PayMaya vs GCash Comparison: Which App Provides More Services?
E-Wallet App Features
Buy prepaid load
Scan and pay via QR code
✓ (PayMaya Treats)
✓ (Ang Pao only)
Physical prepaid card
Virtual prepaid card
✓ (Visa or Mastercard)
✓ (American Express)
Link to PayPal
✓ (via Bonds.ph)
✓ (via GInvest)
✓ (via GInsure)
Related article: Got GCash Mastercard? Steps to Order and Activate Your GCash Card
Currently, the GCash app has more functionalities than the PayMaya app. New GCash features have been recently rolled out, giving customers more reasons to use the app:
Borrow load – Allows prepaid subscribers from all networks to borrow load and pay it back using their GCash balance.
Rebate for every load purchase – Users can receive a 5% to 10% cashback for every load sent through the GCash app.
GCredit – A personal revolving credit line that works like a credit card or loan for paying via QR code or paying bills. GCredit can also give you up to PHP 30,000 credit line and up to 3% interest rate. The interest is prorated, which means that earlier payments of dues result in lower interest fees.
GSave – Powered by CIMB Bank, GSave is a savings account that doesn’t require an initial deposit and maintaining balance. The annual interest rate, which is 2.6%, is much higher than what regular banks offer.
GInvest – An investment marketplace on the GCash app. This allows you to invest in different investment funds from GCash partners such as ATRAM Trust Corporation (ATRAM Trust).
GInsure – Powered by Singlife, one of Singapore’s leading digital insurers, GInsure gives policyholders protection products, such as cash for income loss (due to an accident) and cash for dengue costs (with free COVID-19 coverage).
While GCash has an Ang Pao feature, which allows you to send money as a gift, PayMaya has a much more comprehensive gifting program called PayMaya Treats. Through this, you can buy e-vouchers from different merchants, such as Jollibee and Lazada, which you can then send as virtual gifts to your families and friends.
PayMaya also offers more cashback for transactions such as QR payments. PayMaya also has a dedicated app for merchants which allows them to quickly get a QR code and a receiving account for money transfer payments from customers.
The two online payment apps differ in the way they let users access their account. Opening a GCash account is easier, as users must enter only a four-digit mobile PIN. PayMaya requires a longer, harder-to-remember password of six alphanumeric characters. This can be quite inconvenient when paying for a purchase, but the complicated password ensures account security, especially when your phone gets lost or stolen.
Thus, if you want faster transactions, GCash is the better app to use. But if you’re more concerned about security, having a PayMaya account can give you peace of mind. For iPhone and iPad users, a more convenient way to access their PayMaya account is to use their device’s Touch ID, a fingerprint identity sensor, or FaceID for IOS.
Both also allow users to perform various transactions via Facebook Messenger as long as their PayMaya or GCash account is connected to it. With this functionality, you don’t have to switch apps or log in to your e-wallet app every time.
GCash has limited functionalities on Messenger. Users can only send money, buy prepaid load, and pay via QR code using the messaging app.
Meanwhile, PayMaya users can do more with Messenger. They can check their account balance, send money, purchase load, pay bills, check the nearest cash-in partner, and encash funds via Smart Padala.
Cash In and Cash Out Flexibility
It’s easy to fund your mobile wallet or withdraw cash from it if the app you’re using provides a lot of convenient options for cashing in and cashing out.
The better mobile wallet app for you depends on your preferred cash-in and cash-out method.
PayMaya vs GCash Comparison: Cash-In Options
As you can see in the table below, the two digital wallet brands offer almost the same ways for customers to fund their account. Take a better look below.
Smart Padala and Global Access
MoneyGram and Western Union
Robinsons Department Store and The SM Store
Robinsons Department Store and The SM Store
Supermarkets and drugstores
Online/Mobile/ATM banking channels
Mastercard and Visa debit cards
DA5 and LBC
PayMaya vs GCash Comparison: Cash-Out Options
GCash offers more options, both online and offline, for withdrawing cash from a user’s virtual wallet. With PayMaya, you can cash out only through Smart Padala outlets and your physical card at Bancnet ATMs nationwide or Visa Plus ATMs worldwide.
Smart Padala outlets
Robinsons Department Store and The SM Store
Any BancNet ATM in the Philippines or Visa Plus ATM abroad
Any BancNet or Mastercard ATM in the Philippines
Instapay-participating banks, including GCash
Instapay-participating banks, including PayMaya
Bills Payment Service
If you’ll use PayMaya vs GCash to pay bills, it helps to know which one allows payment for the billers you’ll be paying to.
PayMaya’s bills payment feature has more than 90 billers including electrical, telephone, cable companies, banks, government agencies, healthcare, insurance, and non-profit organizations. These include Meralco, Smart and Globe postpaid, and Manila Water. It also accepts payment for MMDA fees and penalties, Home Credit payments, Pag-IBIG contributions and housing loan amortizations, and DFA passport processing fees.
GCash, on the other hand, has a very competitive edge. It has more than 400 billers nationwide. You can pay bills such as utilities, insurance, government-mandated dues, home loan, and school tuition
Final Thoughts: Which is Better, PayMaya or GCash?
While GCash appears to be the superior mobile wallet app in terms of functionalities, the merits of using PayMaya can’t be dismissed. Only you, the user, can pinpoint which of these two online payment apps is better for you. It’s recommended that you try both and see for yourself how each one works, so you can compare PayMaya vs GCash and decide which app you should continue using.
Once you’ve chosen a digital wallet to use, get started with the help of one of these guides:
You may also check out our guides to using other mobile payment apps for contactless transactions in the Philippines:
 More Filipinos Embrace Online Shopping (Manila Times, 2021)
 GCash Has Now Over 33 Million Users (Philippine News Agency, 2021)
 PayMaya customers reach 28 million (Philstar.com, 2021)
 Know your customer (Wikipedia)
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