Malaysia has the potential to become a cashless society, and Boost CEO Chris Tiffin is determined to nudge it in the right direction.
“Becoming a cashless society is not a switch that you can flip on and say ‘Yes, we’re ready’, but is instead a journey,” says Tiffin.
“In order to replace cash which has been around for ages, we need to encourage the adoption of e-wallet and change consumers’ behaviour for cashless transactions.”
As a homegrown brand, Tiffin says that Boost is always on the lookout to partner with more institutions and organisations that are homegrown as well in order to take Malaysia to the next level.
“The human nature is to always look outside and think that someone else can do it better but as we have been able to prove in the last year, nobody knows Malaysia more than Malaysians,” he says.
“For us, it is about accelerating what we have achieved already, in order to help support the digital economy of Malaysia.”
Boost was conceived in 2015, developed and incubated over 2016, and launched last year.
But the company is not alone in the digital cash market – according to Tiffin there are over 40 licensees for e-money apps approved by Bank Negara.
“We don’t see the other e-wallets as just pure competition. We actually see them as ecosystem builders and partners because everything that we are doing is about changing behaviours,” says Tiffin.
“For us, it is about how we can partner and collaborate with the other players in order to educate consumers as well as merchants and partners about the benefits of using e-money versus just trying to have the typical, traditional mindset of ‘I need to own it all’.”
There are now over 50,000 touch points across Malaysia where consumers can use Boost to make transactions. Most of these places are centred around university areas, which Tiffin says are the best places to drive the adoption of e-wallets.
“The reality is that the acceptance of digital, of technology, is extremely high among the youths and young adult segments, and therefore it is a natural fit to be focusing to accelerate the adoption through the university initiatives and the areas around them,” he says.
Boost has partnered with nine universities to create cashless campuses across the country, where students can not only make digital transactions within the campus, but the area surrounding it as well.
“In a way, it becomes a catalyst for adoption of cashless transactions outside the universities. For example, parents are now adopting Boost as a channel for sending money,” says Tiffin.
“Has it been successful? Yes it has. Could it be better? Yes it could. We are focusing on everything within the university to make it cashless.
“Not just for food and beverages, but we are also moving towards paying for university and library fees.”
Since its launch in 2017, the homegrown e-wallet already has over 3.2 million registered customers, and Tiffin believes the number will grow in a conducive cashless environment.