Most Malaysians not using cash for a week at a time, preferring digital payment

As digital payment becomes more commonplace during the pandemic, 55% of Malaysian consumers say they can go a week without making a cash payment. — THOMAS YONG/The Star

As more Malaysians adopt digital payment, a majority can go up to a whole week without using cash, a recent study found.

The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes study reveals that 55% of Malaysian consumers can do so, up 13% from the previous year.

It also found that 74% have tried going cashless over the past year, while 50% of those that had never tried going cashless before were now confident enough to live their daily lives without cash for up to a week.

This change in attitude was likely related to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with more than one in four (28%) respondents saying they were not likely to go back to using cash after the pandemic.

Visa Malaysia country manager Ng Kong Boon said the pandemic accelerated digital transformation and how Malaysians choose to pay and be paid.

“From the insights we have gathered from the study over the years, the shifts towards using more digital payments in Malaysia are here to stay,” he said.

Malaysian respondents believed that a cashless society would bring various benefits like curbing the spread of the virus (58%), enabling easier tracking of financial records (54%), lowering the risk of theft (52%), offering a hassle-free experience and avoiding the need to queue at banks (52%).

The fastest growing types of cashless payment adoption were QR payments (60%), mobile wallets (54%), and contactless cards (51%).

These digital payments options were seen being used primarily for bill payments, supermarket and retail shopping, purchases at convenience stores, and for food and dining.

Consumers were also increasingly choosing to shop at stores that accept cashless payment options instead of cash-only options.

The most popular cashless innovations were found to be self-service checkouts (64%), automated app payments (64%), and biometric payments through fingerprint or facial authentication (60%).

The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study was conducted in September 2021 across the following South-East Asian countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The total sample size was 7,500 including 1,000 consumers in Malaysia aged 18-65, with a minimum income cut-off of RM2,000.

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