As demographics across the world and in Malaysia continue to shift, consumers are increasingly seeking quicker, safer and more convenient methods to pay for goods and services.

In Malaysia, 67% of consumers have used some form of cashless payment, with debit cards and online banking being the most preferred non-cash channels.


Cash is still the king for daily expenses.

Only 27% have used a credit card to pay for their expenses and even fewer use mobile wallets.



Believe on e-Wallet is the solution

High smart phone penetration and mobile data usage in Malaysia provide a solid foundation for mobile wallets to thrive. Indeed, awareness of mobilewallets in Malaysia is high (88%) as more and more providers enter the space. However, 8% mobile wallet penetration is in amazing low.



Only know half of the answer

From the Nelson survey, concerns on security and fraud are just one of the biggest barriers to e-wallet adoption, but it is only half of the answer.

Learn from our neighbors

Mobile payment from China

Before mobile payment is popular in China, there are not sufficient electronic payment alternatives such as credit card and debit card.

Also, cash note is a major problem because the largest cash note is about US$ 15. Very often people have to carry a pile of cash notes to buy a computer or TV set in the ’90s.

With the popularity of Alibaba and Taobao in China, people are very used to using online payment for goods. With a large user base, Alipay suddenly becomes the most popular payment method than cash.

Octopus Card from Hong Kong

Most people have more than 4 credit cards on average in Hong Kong. However, cash is still popular for paying daily expenses because some merchants still don’t accept credit cards because of the 2-3% surcharge.

On the other hand, the Octopus card for public transportation has been working very successfully to penetrate the low-end retail markets such as convenient stores and fast-food restaurants.

The driven force for the success of the Octopus card is that it works on all public transportations from the subway, ferries, to buses. People in Hong Kong use their card every day.


The insights:

What we can earn from China: spend effort on on-line and off-line payment technology, application, and market development.

What we can learn from Hong Kong: make automatic fare collection available for all public transportation in all cities in Malaysia. Investment financing is a major issue.  Learn more, visit

Post Author: Keith Lau

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