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PayMaya Saved My Butt In Taipei

Was able to survive just using PayMaya alone

Last week I landed in Taipei, Taiwan, to cover COMPUTEX, the biggest computer show this side of the world. And while I managed to pack all the essentials that I needed for the trip to cover the show, I seemingly forgot one important thing – authorize my ATM to work outside the Philippines to withdraw cash.

Not for a lack of trying though – I’ve been trying to contact BPI through my mobile phone three days before to do exactly that, but for some reason I wasn’t able to get through to their customer contact center in the run up to my trip. And because I suck at remembering things, I only thought of withdrawing from the ATM once I was through immigration, which is obviously no bueno, since they were no more ATMs once you go through. A credit card would have worked, but I don’t have one.

See, I don’t like credit cards. I’m a naturally impulsive shopper, and I’d probably rack up thousands and thousands of credit card debt once I get one. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of things I like that requires a credit card number – my Netflix account, VPN to get the most out of said account, the occasional trinket from AliExpress and for this trip, an AirBnB transfer after my time with ASUS (who took us to Taipei for COMPUTEX) was over.

For those times I used to use BPI’s My ePrepaid, which essentially worked out like a credit card, though it did come with its own limitations. You can’t use the physical card as a credit card, which means you’re stuck to online transactions only, plus you can’t easily withdraw extra cash you put in there if you need it for something else.

Those limitations don’t exist with PayMaya. You only need your mobile number (either Smart or Globe, doesn’t matter) and you’ll be setup with an account in no time, with its own 16-digit Visa or Mastercard number plus CVC. You can also buy a physical card that you can use with your account for Php 150 that you can freely swipe and use much like a debit card once you link it to your account. You can also freely withdraw money from your PayMaya account once you finish the verification process.

Once I landed in Taipei a week ago, I faced a huge problem: I didn’t have enough funds to cover the cost of my stay with the money in my pocket. While Taipei isn’t as expensive a city like Singapore, for example, I was sure that I wouldn’t survive eight days in the metropolis with the two Php 1,000 bills in my wallet.

Turns out PayMaya can also do overseas withdrawals (with pretty good exchange rates to boot), and that’s exactly what I did. I asked family members back home to load my account up with cash through the SM Business center in SM San Mateo, though you can also have people load your account up in 7-Eleven and even online through BDO, or Union Bank ATMs.

Accepted even in Taxis

Once I punched in my PIN and got my cash, I was ready to hit Taipei’s mean streets and cover COMPUTEX. Each transaction that you make with PayMaya big or small, results in a text message to the number registered to it, and you’ll be able to track your spending and your current balance via the PayMaya app. Since the card is, for all intents and purposes, a debit card, you’ll be able to use it anywhere a credit card is accepted. 

Bonus Taipei 101 shot

Whenever I bring a lot of cash overseas, I’m usually murdered by the exchange rate when changing it back to peso. But since I didn’t need to take out a lot of money this time around, only withdrawing what I needed to for my expenses (or to buy the stuff that my friends asked me to get while in town) the excess money that I had to change back to pesos was negligible. And once I got back, I now have an option to withdraw the money that was put in there to use in other things. But I’m not going to – PayMaya has already proven itself as useful tool for me, and it’ll be my preferred online shopping card moving forward. 


John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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  1. It is a paid advertisement, because a real user would know 7eleven is shutting? down cliqq machines just to avoid paymaya. Also, BDO has suspended the service, they say momentarily, but I doubt that.

    1. All of the information was culled through PayMaya’s official channels. I received two payments of 10K each from a friend that was asking me to buy stuff for him in Taiwan, so no, Cliqq is still very much alive.

      BPI sucks ass when it comes to convenience, I only have it because our Payroll is tied to it.

    2. Cliqq sucks. Most of them are down or disconnected but when you come across one that works, its fast and easy.

      Yesterday, I had to load my Paymaya for an overseas transaction and had a hard time finding one that works but I was able to load it up after 6 7-11 branches.

  2. Paid or unpaid advertisement, all I can see are lessons on Mr. Nieves experience.

    * One of them is, when something went sideways, focus on the problems and find ways to jump through them.

    * When travelling abroad, aside from your credit cards, bring with you an internationally accepted debit card.

    * And you can always depend on your family and friends to help you out.

  3. Any and all paid articles will be under the advertisement tag whenever we write them. They didn’t pay me to write this.

    1. what ATM did you use for withdrawing cash using paymaya physical card? i tried but it doesnt show my account shows on the screen credit or unionpay or cirrus? i reside here in taiwan btw.

  4. Thanks to this article I’ve found an acceptable alternative to my EastWest prepaid card. I trust this site, I don’t think it’s secretly a paid post, and besides I find PayMaya a good service for reasons other than the ones stated here. (Number one is the ease of tracking transactions, whereas the EastWest card only allows balance inquiries through ATMs; I don’t get to identify individual charges. Also, PayMaya accounts actually get refunded for authorization holds, while I suspect that the EastWest cards don’t.) I’m looking forward to trying its validity with more services/merchants.

    One question I have though is about the load-up fees. Some information online says there’s a PHP 15 per 1000 load-up fee, while other sources say only the Smart Padala transactions incur deductions. For my first load-up, I used 7/11’s Cliqq and there was no deduction; is this just because it’s my first time, or is it always ‘free’ like this?

  5. Can I really use my Paymaya Card in Taiwan? I’m a little bit worried. Does ATMs in Taiwan have the PLUS signs?

    1. We Need withdraw money abroad your Paymaya Visa Prepaid card you can see display the Plus logo in over 1.8 million ATM locations worldwide. Plus ATM Network is owned by Visa International.

  6. How withdraw money abroad your Paymaya Visa Prepaid card you can see the Plus logo in over 1 million ATM locations worldwide. Plus ATM Network is owned by Visa International.

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