Ultimate Guide To E-Wallet In Malaysia 2021 – Which Should You Get?
E-wallet is one of the fastest growing payment trends in Malaysia. You can find many mobile wallets available such as Touch ‘n Go eWallet, GrabPay, Boost, Maybank E-Wallet (MAE), and more, but which one is the best? Read this guide and learn how you can redeem your RM50 e-wallet on MySejahtera app via the ePenjana initiative.
Here’s the breakdown of this guide:
- What is an e-wallet?
- Types of e-wallets
- How to use e-wallets
- How do e-wallets work?
- What are the benefits of e-wallets?
- What e-wallet benefits can you get during this COVID-19 period?
- List of e-walletsin Malaysia
- E-wallet comparison in Malaysia
- How To Choose Which E-Wallet To Use?
- E-wallet Vs Credit Card Vs Debit Card – What’s The Difference?
- Malaysia’s growing e-wallet landscape
- Cashless payment is the way forward, and e-wallets are at the forefront
E-Wallets have been mushrooming in Malaysia over the last few years, with new platforms surfacing every now and then. To date, there are a total of 53 e-wallets in the country, with the industry occupying 19% of Malaysia’s fintech space, according to a 2019 report by Fintech Malaysia (Fintechnews.my).
This upward trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, especially as the accelerated growth of e-wallets in the country is in line with the central bank’s aim to transform Malaysia into a cashless society by 2020. Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) even established a blueprint emphasizing their aim to increase the number of per capita e-payment transactions from 44 to 200 transactions.
The industry will only continue to flourish as demands rise, particularly after the government recently announced an allocation of RM750 million to promote the adoption of e-wallets in Malaysia as part of a series of economic stimulus under the PENJANA recovery plan to revitalise the economy crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is an e-wallet?
An e-wallet is the digital equivalent of a real wallet, with the exception that money is digital and it functions as an app on a smartphone. Similar to regular wallets, e-wallets will need funds to function and perform transactions. This can be done by filling up the wallet with cash via credit cards, debit cards and online bank transfer.
E-wallets can be used to pay for services or goods at participating merchants, or to transfer money to other fellow e-wallet users.
Types of e-wallets
The transfer of money can be done either by scanning a QR code or through the card’s NFC technology.
Termed near-field communication, NFC basically allows phones, tablets or laptops to share data with other NFC-equipped devices. Sounds familiar? Well, NFC evolved from RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology, the innovation that allowed us to scan our office cards into offices.
How to use e-wallets
All you gotta do is place your smartphone within four inches of another NFC device, and it will automatically signal your digital wallet to pop up and confirm a payment. Unlike bluetooth, NFC doesn’t require manual pairing or device discovery to transfer data.
Some other e-wallets will allow transactions via an accompanying physical or prepaid card.
How do e-wallets work?
Without understanding the different processes of e-wallets, some may be skeptical about the safety and security of e-wallets. But the flow chart from eWhallet below perfectly explains why e-wallets are secured platforms.
1. Getting your identity right
The first crucial step: users will be asked to provide personal details to verify their identity. It’s usually done by requesting users to submit a front and back photo of their IC/Passport and a clear selfie.
2. Fill up the e-wallets
Funds will not automatically be deducted from the wallet, unless requested to. To get started, users will need to deposit funds into their e-wallet via a credit card, debit card or through online banking.
3. Where does the money go? Into a licensed trust account!
The funds won’t disappear into thin air, relax. All funds will be deposited into a trust account from a licensed financial institution as required by Bank Negara.
4. Lastly, scan or transfer the kaching
Users will scan a QR code presented by the merchant or vice versa to confirm and complete the transaction, or send money via phone number.
What are the benefits of e-wallets?
What are the appeals of a cashless society? Here are some noteworthy perks to using e-wallets:
1. Reducing theft and fraud
When transactions are made online, it’s possible to reduce theft usually associated with physical cash. It could also be easier for the government to regulate a system, minus fake money and one where all transactions are recorded in a single database.
On top of that, data stored in mobile wallets are encrypted, meaning the actual card account numbers are not transmitted during a payment. The use of payment codes like single-use QR codes are enhanced with security features to make it more secure.
2. For the love of convenience
Using e-wallets saves you time. With a few clicks, you can make a transaction in just a few minutes. It saves the hassle of typing out bank account numbers for online transfers or counting bill changes physically.
3. More mindful of expenditures
E-wallets lets you track real-time spending data. Relying on monthly statements that are usually generated near the end of the month means we might tend to slack off when it comes to tracking out spending. This is a great alternative and a practical solution to improve one’s financial literacy.
4. It’s safer to go contactless
As part of the new normal of living alongside the COVID-19 virus (with no vaccine in sight yet) it’s best to be extra cautious on how we carry out our usual day-to-day activities. Contactless and cashless payment is an alternative for those who prefer to keep a distance from the rest.
5. There are plenty of rewards and cashback
E-wallets also offer rewards and cashback to incentivize users. In fact, it’s easier to spend and track the rewards you garner with an e-wallet.
What e-wallet benefits can you get during this COVID-19 period?
To encourage a safe, contact-free payment experience via e-wallets, and to boost consumer spending, the current administration has allocated a total of RM750 million to promote the e-wallet industry aimed at benefiting 15 million Malaysians.
There was no mention of participating e-wallets in Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s Yassin’s speech. In the meantime, here’s what we gathered from the announcement.
The ePENJANA programme is one of the 40 initiatives – worth a total of RM35 billion – that are parked under the main PENJANA economic stimulus plan. (Source: PENJANA Treasury)
E-wallet benefits from ePenjana initiative:
- RM50 worth of e-wallet credits
- Additional RM50 in value through vouchers, cashback and discounts by e-wallets
How to redeem your RM50 e-wallet credit:
- Download the MySejahtera app
- The government has yet to address the question of which e-wallet platforms are participating in this initiative
RM50 e-wallet credit usage eligibility:
- Applicable only for offline/physical purchases
- The scheme will begin July 2020
- For Malaysians aged 18 years and above with annual income of less than RM100,000 per annum
- Compulsory to download the MySejahtera app to receive benefits.
How to register for the MySejahtera app:
If you’re wondering, here’s how MySejahtera works. First off, this app is one of three apps developed by the government to aid the management of the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia.
Available via Google Play, Huawei AppGallery and iOS App Store, the app is equipped with a QR-based contact tracing platform, self-assessment health check and hotspot tracker alongside links to healthcare resources.
To download the app, click below to find out the easy step-by-step guide which we found on the MySejahtera website:
Step 1: Download and install MySejahtera from either the Gallery of Malaysian Government Mobile Applications (GAMMA), Apple AppStore, Google Play Store or Huawei AppGallery
Step 2: Click on “Register Here” to register a new account
Step 3: Enter your mobile phone number and click “Register” or click on the link “I would like to use Email to Register” (if you want to register using email address)
Step 4: You will receive an OTP via SMS from 63839 (if you register using phone number) or confirmation link through your email (if you register using email address)
Step 5: Enter the OTP and click ‘Send’ (if you register using phone number) or click on the confirmation link sent to your email (if you register using email address)
Step 6: Fill in your registration details and click ‘Confirm’
Step 7: You will receive a “Successful Registration” message. Click “Close” at the bottom of the screen to return to the sign-in screen
Step 8: Enter your User ID (phone number or email address) and your password and click “Sign in”.
Step 9: Congratulations! You may start using the app.
List of e-walletsin Malaysia
To date, 53 e-money issuers have been listed, including 47 non-bank e-money licenses, on BNM’s website under the e-money issuers category. That’s a lot of options to choose from so it’s not surprising that one can get easily overwhelmed when it comes to deciding which e-wallet is the best in Malaysia.
E-wallet comparison in Malaysia
|E-Wallet||Backed by||Why it’s worth it||Notable merchants|
|Boost||Axiata Group||Giant, Watsons, Tealive, KK SUPER MART|
|GrabPay||Grab||Legoland, Jaya Grocer, KFC, Family Mart, Boost (juice bar)|
|Touch ‘n Go eWallet||Alipay and Touch ‘n Go||Giant, Mydin, Tesco, Watsons, Lazo Diamond, Converse|
|Razer Pay||Razer Inc.||KK SUPER MART, Starbucks, Burger King, 7-Eleven, Tealive, FashionValet, JD Sports, F.O.S.|
|Wechat Pay||Tencent Group||KK SUPER MART|
|MAE||Maybank||AEON, AEON BiG, Jaya Grocer, Krispy Kreme, TGV Cinemas, San Francisco Coffee, Mydin, Chatime, Watsons, McDonald’s|
|BigPay||70% AirAsia||Accepted at over 40 million merchants worldwide that accept Mastercards, except in North Korea and Israel|
Boost is owned by Axiata Group. (Source: Boost)
Launched in 2017, it’s home to 7 million Boosties and growing. The service is widely accepted at over 140,000 touchpoints covering both online and physical stores in Malaysia. Boost users also get to make payments at any merchants accepting UnionPay cards. Their signature Shake Rewards gives away up to 8x more coins, cashback, prizes and Golden Tickets.
In May 2020, Samsung Pay integrated with Boost e-wallet to create a more seamless and secure cashless payment experience. The e-wallet platform also partnered with Shell stations allowing users to pay for petrol at 800 Shell stations around the country. Users can spend a minimum of RM40 with Boost at any participating Shell station, and get RM5 in cashback.
The app also offers parking payment solutions, allowing users to pay for parking at Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur’s (DBKL) car parks in Kuala Lumpur, as well as bill payment options for Astro, Syabas and Telekom, among others. For a full list, check here.
To date, about 60% of merchants on-board the platform consist of small and micro-businesses such as ‘nasi lemak’ sellers, ‘pasar malam’ vendors and food truck operators, according to Boost.
Its latest feature called the Boost Partner Wallet, lets you earn cashback from participating partners and allows you to use that cashback on your next transaction at those participating partners.
Grab was founded by Malaysians Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling. (Source: Grab)
Thanks to its Grab Platform ecosystem, GrabPay gives you the ease of using their e-wallet when ordering food, shopping for items and groceries, paying for rides and transferring GrabPay credits. Click here for a full list of their merchants. Each GrabPay transaction lets you earn points to redeem attractive deals.
It also lets you top-up your mobile phone credits directly on your Grab app. This service is available across leading telcos in Malaysia including Celcom, Digi, Maxis, U Mobile and TuneTalk. GrabPay has a partnership with Maybank to allow for cross platform use with merchants that accept Maybank Pay.
Although GrabPay is now widely available across Southeast Asia, it’s not able to convert credits to local currencies as of yet.
Touch ‘n Go eWallet
Screencap of Touch ‘n Go eWallet’s interface. (Source: Touch ‘n Go)
Touch ‘n Go eWallet offers a more sizable e-wallet that lets users send RM5,000 per month to peers and over 150,000 merchants nationwide. All users have to do is simply reload with cash, debit/credit card and bank transfer.
Unlike other e-wallet services, you get to use Touch ‘n Go eWallet to pay tolls at participating highways across Malaysia. This is made possible by the PayDirect and RFID features. For PayDirect, one would still need to scan their physical Touch ‘n Go card when at the toll, but money will be deducted from the e-wallet. For RFID, scanning is made through the RFID sticker located on one’s vehicle headlamp or windscreen, only then will the transaction be made from the user’s Touch ‘n Go eWallet. These features are intended to reduce traffic congestion, and make the process of paying tolls more seamless and efficient.
However, it drew widespread criticism from netizens when all the Touch ‘n Go reload services at Plus highway toll exits nationwide were halted on November 5 last year. The complaints were mainly on the inefficiency of the e-wallet because it’s not applicable across all tolls. However, If you do need to reload, you can find out where at more than 11,000 reload points located in Malaysia here.
Despite this, Plus Malaysia Bhd says they don’t plan to reopen any lanes for Touch ‘n Go reloading despite complaints from road users. First implemented in August 2019, the initiative had reportedly reduced traffic congestion in the central region by 48.2%, because drivers had to ensure that their cards had sufficient balance before entering the highway.
Afraid of scams? Their Money-back Guarantee policy promises full compensation within five days if your e-wallet is being charged with unauthorised purchases or reload.
Touch ‘n Go eWallet can also be extensively enjoyed to purchase items on the Apple Store and iTunes, pay street parking, taxi rides, food delivery services, as well as for booking bus tickets online via BusOnlineTicket.com or as a payment method for purchasing KLIA Express and KLIA Transit tickets; however the cashless payment option will be offered over the counter, rather than at the gate.
One of the more popular bank-owned e-wallets. (Source: Maybank)
A short form for ‘Maybank Anytime, Everywhere,’, the MAE e-wallet is open to non-Maybank customers as well. Upon registration, users will get a Maybank account number and a virtual debit card.
Due to the valid Maybank account number that comes with the e-wallet, you can also receive money through traditional methods including instant online bank transfers and cash deposit machines. There’s no need to download a new app because the MAE app is integrated right in the Maybank2U app.
MAE allows you to transfer cash to your friends, split and pay bills or pay via QR code at over 200,000 QRPay merchants, as well as book movie tickets and flight tickets. MAE has a maximum wallet size of RM4,999.99 and a limit of RM2,999.99 per transaction.
Razer Pay is now only available in Malaysia and Singapore. (Source: Razer)
Part of global hardware manufacturer and gaming giant Razer Inc., Razer Pay debuted in Malaysia in 2018 as an e-wallet service provider.
Though still in its infancy, Razer Pay can be used as a payment method at over 1,000 online merchants, according to their Facebook page. Some of these notable merchants include Hermo, FashionValet, JD Sports, Decathlon, Uniqlo, F.O.S, BloomThis and Easy Parcel.
Through its partnership with Berjaya Corp, users can get a Razer Pay top-up PIN from any 7-Eleven store in Malaysia, or alternatively top up via bank account or a debit card from participating banks including AmBank, Bank Islam, CIMB, Hong Leong Bank, Maybank and Public Bank. For verified accounts, the daily transaction limit is capped at RM3,000, and RM48,000 for annual transactions as of now.
With Razer Pay, users get to pay for their favourite games, entertainment, food and mobile top ups. They also get to transfer funds to family and friends, transfer money from their e-wallet to bank accounts and top up their telco accounts. Gamers get to purchase PIN codes for services such as zGold MOLPoints, Steam Wallet, Garena, Sony PlayStation, Spotify, iflix and more.
Razer Pay hopes to expand its merchant list to over 6,000 major retail and food and beverages outlets in the future.
For WeChat Pay users, the cumulative daily payment and withdrawal limit on an Android mobile phone is RM1,000, as per Bank Negara Malaysia’s security guidelines. (Source: WeChat Pay MY)
One of the most popular instant messaging services in China, its financial offshoot landed on local soil in 2019 making Malaysia the first foreign country outside of China to have WeChat Pay enabled in a local currency.
Like most other apps, it allows you to make payments easily and quickly. All you have to do is flash the generated QR code to the participating merchant. Their merchant list includes AmBank, Hong Leong Bank, iPay88, MOL and Revenue Monster. KK SUPER MART is the first chain store in Malaysia to accept WeChat Pay MY.
To top up your e-wallet, just attach any number of Mastercard or Visa debit cards issued by local banks to the platform. The platform also allows you to transfer money to friends and family via their Money Packet feature as well as pay prepaid plans for telco brands like Altel, Celcom, Digi, Friendi, Maxis, Merchantrade, Tune Talk, U Mobile and XOX.
One unique feature of this wallet is that you can purchase bus and airline tickets directly from the app, even going as far as selecting seats through a third-party bus and airline ticket service provider.
The withdrawal limits are set at RM10,000 per calendar month, and RM4,500 per wallet account and per bank account.
Unlike its competitors, BigPay’s e-wallet works in tandem with a physical Mastercard prepaid card. In this instance, it doesn’t really eliminate the physical card.
The benefit of this credit card-like feature is that you can still make payments at locations that don’t accept e-wallets by using your BigPay card. But since it’s a prepaid card, you won’t be able to pay for an item that costs more than the balance in your e-wallet.
The app pretty much functions like other e-wallets: you can top-up your card and check on transactions. Besides that, you also get to make online purchases and withdraw funds from ATMs.
The card is accepted at over 40 million merchants worldwide except for North Korea and Israel.
The card will benefit users of AirAsia’s Big Loyalty Programme the most. The airline company’s founder Tony Fernandes believes the service will be worth more than his airline in the future.
How To Choose Which E-Wallet To Use?
Choosing which e-wallet to use in Malaysia all goes down to the penetration rates, types of merchants, promotions and benefits. But don’t feel pressured to stick to one type of e-wallet. Mix and match to see which suits your needs and wants the best.
Here we give a rundown on some of the top e-wallets in Malaysia so you can decide which offers the most seamless and rewarding experience.
E-wallet Vs Credit Card Vs Debit Card – What’s The Difference?
Cashless payment is currently experiencing a renaissance period of sorts, with a vast number of options to choose from: credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, e-wallets and the list goes on. So it may get slightly confusing when a new technology hits the market.
We break down the difference between credit cards, debit cards and e-wallets in this section:
A credit card allows you to pay a merchant for goods and services via borrowed money from a bank. At the end of every month, you’ll need to pay the bank at least a partial amount of the money spent.
Instead of borrowing money, transactions made from a debit card will be directly withdrawn from your bank account.
To spend on e-wallets, you’ll need to add money into your digital wallet first, either through direct transfer from your bank account or via a credit/debit card.
Though some of their functions may interweave, the three operate differently.
Malaysia’s growing e-wallet landscape
The fintech industry is rapidly becoming a central figure in the average Malaysian’s life as well as a fundamental part of the country’s financial sector, according to a new analysis by the International Monetary Fund.
With its growing middle class, high mobile phone and internet penetration rates and strong government support for the digital economy, Malaysia is well positioned to not only take advantage of fintech innovation but also thrive in this segment of industry.
Screencap from the 2019 report by Fintech Malaysia (Source: Fintechnews.my)
Besides mobile wallets, Malaysian businesses and consumers are also readily embracing new technology such as electronic payments, crowdfunding and “insurtech” (the combination of insurance and technology).
According to the IMF, internet banking in Malaysia has quadrupled in the last decade, topping a 90% usage rate in 2018. It’s little wonder that Malaysia ranked first among countries in emerging and developing Asia, out of the 139 countries surveyed as part of the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Network Readiness Index.
A pie chart from Fintech Malaysia shows that e-wallets make up almost 19% of the Malaysian fintech industry. (Source: Fintechnews.my)
By the way, the RMCO ePenjana incentive isn’t the first e-wallet initiative to be introduced, as back in January 2020, the previous administration had also set aside RM450 million to encourage the adoption of e-wallets in Malaysia. Called e-Tunai, Malaysians would get a one-time RM30 credit that is available via three e-wallet platforms: Boost, GrabPay and TNG Digital. Don’t try to claim though, as this initiative has expired.
Both e-wallet initiatives from both administrations cost a total of RM1.2 billion, underscoring the significance of the e-wallet industry as a prioritized segment of the economy in Malaysia.
Cashless payment is the way forward, and e-wallets are at the forefront
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the country’s economy, but has also presented opportunities and circumstances for certain industries to grow and thrive. One such industry is the e-wallet industry, particularly as the need for contactless payment arises.
Even without COVID-19, Malaysia’s e-wallet market was already poised for strong growth in part due to the region’s favourable demographics and because of the government’s numerous initiatives to push towards a cashless society.
All in all, we predict that the industry will only continue to grow from here and that’s good news for consumers, who now have a wider selection of e-wallets to choose from.