GrabPay tech issues hit shoppers at start of 11.11 sales

SINGAPORE – Many shoppers faced difficulty paying for their 11.11 hauls in the early hours of Wednesday (Nov 11) as Grab’s e-payment feature ran into technical issues.

Regional sales manager Aaron Koh, 44, was stuck for over an hour as he tried to use GrabPay to buy a hairdryer for his wife from the Dyson website during the online sales event, which originated in China as part of Singles’ Day celebrations.

“From about midnight, I was unable to get a one-time-password (OTP) from Grab to complete my transaction and I was also unable to see my card details,” he said.

He was able to access his card details later and also received an OTP at about 1am, but he still could not process his payment on the Dyson website using GrabPay.

The issue persisted when he tried again at about 6.30am.

Mr Koh was not the only one with issues. Consumers say that money transferred into their GrabPay accounts for the 11.11 sales is now stuck.

GrabPay is an electronic wallet system, which requires consumers to use a debit or credit card to top up their account before the stored value can be used to purchase items.

Since December 2019, Grab has also issued cards in partnership with Mastercard to pair with the GrabPay e-wallet.

“The frustrating part about the Grab issue is that you have to top up the e-wallet first before you make payment, which means that the money you have topped up is stuck inside and you have to use another provider’s card with the same amount of money inside to make the payment,” Mr Koh added.

Although he eventually managed to complete the transaction by switching to his United Overseas Bank debit card, Mr Koh is currently seeking a refund of over $600 which he had transferred into GrabPay specifically for the purchase.

Some who used Grab’s MasterCard debit card to try to make payment also faced issues.

Users posted screenshots on social media with an error message stating ‘failed to call tutuka to get card detail’. 

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Tutuka is a financial technology company which provides payment solutions.

It is unclear how the two companies are linked.

Part-time administrator Ivan Lim, 30, could not top up his GrabPay electronic wallet at all.

“I was waiting for Shopee’s 11.11 sale to buy a bag for my mum and a toy set for my nephew amongst other things, but I was unable to top up my card at midnight, which is strange because it worked earlier at 11.47pm,” he said.

Mr Lim could not get the roughly $100 he needed into his account, which he said caused him to miss out on some discounts.

Shoppers like student Kaw Shi En were upset with Grab’s apparent lack of customer support. The 22-year-old was trying to buy a set of weighing scales for his mother through the Lazada website.

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“I feel disappointed with Grab because there were no updates at all and a lot of people were left hanging,” he said.

He added that the issue was compounded by the fact that earlier in the week, Grab had pushed out a series of 11.11 deals for the GrabPay card and wallet features with e-commerce sits such as Shopee and Qoo10.

“I was less affected because my transaction was relatively small, but people spending more money would have lost out.”

The Straits Times has reached out to Grab for comment.

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