As at end June 2016, the e-Pengeluaran on-line recorded a total of 18,707 approved applications for education withdrawals since the online facility for these withdrawals was made available in April this year.
The surge is most pronounced in June, in which a total of 12,422 education withdrawals were approved in the month alone, with the majority being to settle the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) education loans.
The EPF said there was an increased usage in its e-Pengeluaran online facility after it was extended to include applications for Education Withdrawal and Health Withdrawal earlier in April.
This is in addition to making EPF withdrawals for housing via e-Pengeluaran as a more efficient alternative for members to submit their withdrawal applications.
The EPF's Q2, 2016 Operations performance saw its online platform, comprising i-Akaun, EPF Kiosks and myEPF, continue to be the preferred mode of transaction with the EPF.
The usage of i-Akaun increased 44.26% from 3.33 million in Q2, 2015 to 4.81 million end June 2016. The number of usage of EPF Kiosks during the quarter under review increased 25.87% to 3.47 million, compared with 2.75 million in Q2, 2015.
EPF Chief Executive Officer Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, in announcing the Q2, 2016 operations performance, said: "Our services have evolved dramatically in order to suit the changes in time and expectations of our members. The e-Pengeluaran facility is a growing part of our business and transactions as it provides greater convenience for members to submit their withdrawal applications.
"Banks participating in e-Pengeluaran have also reported significant reduction in turnaround time as well as improved daily productivity."Currently, banks participating in e-Pengeluaran include Maybank, RHB Bank, Bank Islam, Bank Simpanan Nasional, OCBC Bank, Ambank, UOB Bank and CIMB Bank.
Shahril said the EPF was seeking to increase the number of banks participating in e-Pengeluaran to allow more members to benefit from the online facility.
The Q2, 2016 saw an increase of 12.64% in approved applications for Age 55 Flexible Withdrawal to 91,111 from 80,890 a year ago.
The amount withdrawn under the scheme was RM2.70bil, compared with RM3.12bil in Q2, 2015 (Q1, 2016: 91,099, RM3.03bil).
This was in contrast with the number of approved applications for Age 55 Full Withdrawal in Q2 2016, which was down 8.56% from 60,087 approved applications in Q2, 2015 involving RM3.21bil to 54,946 involving an amount of RM2.69bil in Q2 2016.
Shahril attributed the increase in the number of applicants opting to stagger the withdrawal of their retirement savings to improved awareness among members who recognised the benefits of stretching their retirement savings further while capitalising on yearly dividends."The Age 55 Flexible Withdrawal preserves flexibility while protecting the contribution of members beyond age 55. This is to ensure sustained quality of living for members in their retirement years, as retirees today face the challenges of longer life expectancy and higher cost of living which deplete their savings at a faster rate," he said.
Total approved applications for Housing Withdrawals, meanwhile, saw a dip from 111,898 in Q2 2015 to 111,169 in Q2 2016, involving an amount of RM1.62bil (Q1, 2016: 104,373, RM1.54bil).
The total number of EPF members in Q2, 2016 rose 3.05% from 14,357,940 in Q2, 2015 to 14,796,334 in Q2 2016, out of which 6,855,701 or 46.33% were active members.
The number of newly registered employers in Q2, 2016 fell 19.17% from 18,903 in Q2, 2015 to 15,279 in Q2 2016, adding to a total of 539,291 employers as of June 30, 2016.
"As the number of our members grow, so is our commitment to deliver service that is faster, convenient and cost saving.
“We encourage more members to register for i-Akaun so they can take advantage of our other online facilities in addition to monitoring their EPF account and update profile, among others," said Shahril, adding that i-Akaun also allows members to ensure their employers contribute on their behalf regularly and timely.
As at end June 2016, the rate of defaulting employers was stable at 1.10% which Shahril attributed largely due to the speedy recovery action by the EPF's Enforcement team and increased awareness among employers towards their employees' future retirement well-being.