Rise and future of e-wallets: Who survives?

  • Lifestyle
  • Tuesday, 31 Dec 2019

Payment through e-wallets is a new norm.

WHILE e-wallets are not entirely new in Malaysia, 2019 has been an aggressive year for the industry in terms of user acquisition.

Millions of ringgit of freebies and cashbacks are given out every month to entice consumers, making it a game of survival of who has the deepest pockets.

Most players would still be in the red due to the high acquisition cost but it had definitely given Malaysians a great push towards going cashless and educating them about the benefits of e-wallets.

With a population of only 32.6 million in Malaysia, having 48 or more e-wallets in the country is too crowded. China, which has around 1.4 billion people, is served primarily by WeChat Pay and AliPay.

The current business model of e-wallets with heavy subsidies and rewards will still be around but it will not last long as it will not be sustainable in the long run.

The year 2019 has definitely seen more Malaysians adopting cashless payment methods and the e-wallet scene is starting to head towards a more mature level.

A number of e-wallets have since gone inactive due to the low number of users as compared to the big boys like Touch’n Go eWallet, Boost and GrabPay.

Even vcash, one of the e-wallet pioneers since 2017 which had the backing of Digi.com Bhd, called it quits and ceased operations beginning Dec 1.

The RM30 digital stimulus by the government under the e-Tunai Rakyat initiative is set to drive more users to move towards digital payments, in line with the Government’s aspirations of making Malaysia a cashless society.

The initiative is expected to benefit some 15 million Malaysians, which will cost the Government around RM450mil. — By ROYCE TAN


AS MALAYSIANS’ love for cashless payments grows beyond credit and debit cards, this year saw the rise of e-wallets, which allow users to make payments using their smartphones.

Even the Government showed its support for e-wallets at the Budget 2020 announcement, offering a one-off RM30 payment to Malaysians aged 18 and above and earning below RM100,000 per annum.

The RM450mil allocation will benefit 15 million Malaysians with a verified account with selected e-wallet operators.

To make use of e-wallet universal, PayNet, which has Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) as its largest shareholder and other major banks in Malaysia as joint shareholders, is pushing to implement an interoperable QR (quick response) code.

This allows stores to accept payments from any e-wallet using one standard QR code, unlike now where a unique code is required for different vendors.

So far, Bank Negara has granted e-money licences to over 40 companies, including five banks, which will allow them to offer e-wallet services.

E-wallets from Grab, Touch n’ Go and Boost are some of the most actively used in the past two years, according to research conducted by App Annie Intelligence, a mobile data and analytics platform and iPrice Group, an information aggregator.The acceptance will only grow as e-wallet is used in more places.

Touch n’ Go, for instance, allows you to pay for parking via its e-wallet in five jurisdictions: Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Subang Jaya Municipal Council, Putrajaya Corporation, Kuala Langat District Council in Selangor and Kota Baru Municipal Council in Kelantan.

Boost, on the other hand, is now accepted at Petron stations, which earlier only accepted WeChat Pay. And Grab added more merchants to its list, including Tesco and Speedmart.

However, as the e-wallet market becomes more crowded, it is inevitable that some will eventually leave the market.

Late last month, Digi.com Bhd’s vcash e-wallet was shut down after two years in operation.

Digi group chief digital officer Praveen Rajan said the e-wallet business was crowded and consumers were driven to use it because of convenience, as well as the heavy subsidies and rewards offered. — By QISHIN TARIQ

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Yearender , e-Wallet , e-Payment


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