“The pandemic is the ideal tempest for Malaysian e-wallets to climb”

Nothing was as devastating as pandemic Covid-19.

In fact, out of this date, more than 1.5 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported in over 190 countries across the globe. Approximately 86,700 deaths were due to the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, and the outbreak also put billions of people at lockdown.

Malaysian e-wallet usage in its current state Although Malaysian e-wallets have recently fallen under the radar, the underlying statistics are solid.

The average value per e-money transaction quietly breached the 10 ringgit ceiling, even reaching 11.69 ringgit in January 2020 based on Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) latest statistics.

This is a significant improvement, as since 2005 the average transaction value had not passed 5 ringgit, the year the central bank BNM liberalized its policies, allowing non-bank institutions to issue e-money.

47 e-wallet companies put their hats into the ring for the government’s latest digital stimulus program, but only three were picked – GrabPay, Raise, and Touch ‘n Go – which may be a decision on winners in the industry.

E-wallets dominate with mobile trading Covid-19 has caused significant change in customer behaviour, triggering a increase in digital usage across the board – from mobile trading to electronic food distribution services to digital entertainment.

Case in point: in March, 1.3 million Malaysians tuned to the Lazada Birthday Carnival. The nation also sees a massive increase in new TikTok users.

Since all non-essential shops are closed, and many people chose to sit at home to prevent possible contamination, smartphone trading and e-wallets have become frontrunners.

TNG Digital, which has good funding from China’s Ant Financial and CIMB Group, is one digital payment player that is reaping benefits. Actually with 10 million registered users, 50% of them participating on its Touch’n Go e-wallet app. TNG Digital’s strategic alliance with Lazada leaves it well-positioned.

While desktop-driven internet banking is common, mobile commerce in recent years has experienced rapid growth and the outbreak could serve as a pivotal point for its rise. This is especially true in Malaysia, where the population is wired to the mobile internet for around four hours a day, making it one of the top 10 mobile internet use countries in the world.

Covid-19 has exposed the badly equipped and aging banking sector in Malaysia. As the country’s banks were waiting for BNM to implement relief initiatives, local e-wallet player Boost rolled out a 150 million ringgit cash fund to offer urgent assistance to its platform’s 135,000 micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises facing financial woes.

This could prove a hot spotlight, with e-wallets developing closer partnerships to benefit their customers and merchants. Such players have also proved to be highly successful in dispersing capital as part of the Malaysian financial stimulus program, with more than 10 million ringgit being redeemed on the very first day.

We can see that a prolonged pandemic coupled with more government-led digital stimulus packages would inevitably favor nimble e-wallet firms willing to go the extra mile.

Covid-19 would be the biggest stress check for all businesses, more so for companies currently witnessing pre-pandemic instability. Yet e-wallets with distinct value propositions are more and more gaining firm ground, building a ideal environment that draws entrepreneurs struggling to remain afloat.

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