Insight - Riding on the cash payments wave


“TNG Digital will go beyond urban areas, and get every segment including senior citizens, to adopt the cashless lifestyle, ’’ said TNG Digital CEO Ignatius Ong.

WITH the surge in cashless payments, companies are drawing up strategies to further tap into this area and diversify their services.

TNG Digital, with a user-base of 14 million linked to 250,000 merchants for its Touch ‘n Go e-wallet, aims to provide financial suites including asset management products, and expand overseas.

Within its range of digital financial services, Boost, under the Axiata group, will include micro investment, micro remittance and micro savings, besides obtaining a digital banking licence.

Seeing a recovery in retail consumption, GHL Systems Bhd is planning to re-activate projects such as lending and its all-in-one solutions for acceptance for debit and credit cards, as well as e-wallets in Indonesia.

Revenue Group Bhd, which saw its e-wallet transactions grow by 20% to 30% since last year, is moving from providing just the merchant link and acceptance to become an e-wallet provider itself.

“With over 50 e-licences issued for e-wallet providers, the indication is that Malaysians are ready for change and e-wallets will revolutionise the way they lead their lives.

“TNG Digital will go beyond urban areas, and get every segment including senior citizens, to adopt the cashless lifestyle, ’’ said TNG Digital CEO Ignatius Ong.

There are 25 million users of TNG cards for whom the Touch ‘n Go e-wallet is a convenient means of cashless payment, while the 1.2 million users of the radio frequency identification or RFID, which is linked to a consumer’s Touch ‘n Go account, are “future ready” to embrace a cashless lifestyle.

While TNG Digital is all set to cross borders, it will currently strengthen its presence locally, and work with its merchants including small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) as well as micro SMEs to revitalise the nation’s economy.

With 98.5% of businesses comprising SMEs, this will be a key focus area; within its wide spectrum of partners, there are micro SMEs like burger and “pasar malam” stalls and SMEs including Sate Kajang and fashion retail store Poplook.

In the “very near” future, TNG Digital will be introducing financial products that should be accessible to people from all walks of life.

From toll to toll and elsewhere, TNG Digital’s strength is in diversifying the usage of Touch ‘n Go e-wallet for mobility in its PayDirect feature and RFID that enable consumers to pass through toll booths, street parking, food delivery, ride-sharing and in empowering taxi drivers to accept digital payments.TNG Digital’s platform, with its security enhancement, offers a “money back guarantee” policy which guards against unauthorized transactions.

Getting consumers to habitually use Touch ‘n Go e-wallet is its biggest challenge which TNG Digital manages through cashbacks, promotions and support for government initiatives.

With over 8.7 million users and 201,000 merchants, Boost which has seen a surge in cashless payments over the last six months, is targeting 10 million users and 220,000 merchants by year end.

Aiming to be a complete digital financial services provider, Boost has recently included a suite of micro insurance/takaful coverage under ‘Boost Protect.’

“The next big areas will be in bill payments – for utilities, Internet, television, telco post-paid, recurring loan instalments, high value purchases, and local council related bills – and insurtech, ’’ said Boost CEO Mohamed Khairil Abdullah.

Using data analytics, Boost can time its offers better, and respond quickly to current needs; during the movement control order (MCO), it introduced a contactless payment feature that enabled merchants to send a URL payment link to customers.

From a cashless payment platform, Boost now offers its merchants, among others, an e-commerce platform, an advertising and marketing function and cross promotions.

Boost leverages on the digital agency and analytics arm of Axiata Digital, for support in running campaigns and performance marketing.

Aspirasi, the digital financing services provider, offers micro financing and micro insurance; under “Boost Protect”, is a feature providing coverage for those recovering from Covid-19.

Apigate, its technology enabler, currently provides content and entertainment including mobile games and premium video streaming.

For user security, Boost has introduced biometric authentication fingerprint scanning for Android users and face ID for iOS users.

With plans to launch lending services in the Philippines by year end, GHL will introduce new services, apart from lending and micro insurance, in the coming quarters.

“These value-added services are expected to grow strongly in line with the growth in the fintech ecosystem, ’’ said group CEO Danny Leong.

Amid the current situation, GHL’s partnerships with banks in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines on the smart all-in-one terminals are progressing well.

The company offers a range of payment types in a single device across five countries in Asean; for its latest products, it has targeted SMEs and micro SMEs to help them transition quickly from offline to online, and accept cashless payments.

Revenue, which has bought an e-wallet company, will include social media and e-commerce as part of its competitive offerings as newcomers need to plan their strategies to attract users.

For the e-wallet company, which is 80% owned by Revenue, the social media platform will be provided by Wannatalk Malaysia.

“Wannatalk, an artificial intelligence (AI) company, is 40% owned by Revenue; with a chatbot and messaging platform, it will also use AI to handle the transactions of the eWallet company, ’’ said Revenue CEO Eddie Ng.

Meanwhile, Revenue’s existing payment gateway business via credit cards, which was hit during the MCO, has seen a 90% recovery; it will now focus on growing its merchant base from 70,000 to 100,000 by end of 2021.

The sky is the limit when it comes to possibilities for cashless payments.

As an example, Alipay has deployed payments not as an end to itself, but as a gateway to a digital ecosystem of products and services, noted Ong of TNG Digital.

Alipay links users’ eWallets directly to in-app retail platforms that include financial and e-commerce services as well as solutions for bill payments.

The app links users’ bank cards to a smartphone application, which in turn, enables a list of offline and online consumption and other services, from taxi hailing, grocery deliveries, utilities and credit card payments to booking of venues for weddings and investing in financial products.

As Malaysia evolves further into the new norm, more of such services may be integrated into the cashless environment, leading to the growth of these services themselves.

Yap Leng Kuen is former editor of StarBiz. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.

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