RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Malaysia

Malaysian e-payment transactions nearly tripled in 2018

It hit 125 transactions per capita last year.

Malaysia is making good progress on its cashless journey with the number of e-payment transactions nearly tripling to 125 in 2018, assistant governor Encik Adnan Zaylani Mohamad Zahid said in a statement.

Also read: Malaysia rides on Asia's virtual banking drive

From 2017 to 2018, mobile payment transaction volume in Malaysia increased twenty-fold from just below two million transactions to over 34 million transactions within a year.

"We estimate that 40% of fintechs in Malaysia are in payments or payment-related services – making it the largest segment. The e-wallet space has been particularly vibrant, contributing to rapid growth in mobile payments," he said during his keynote address at the Malaysian E-Payments Excellence Awards.

Also read: Check out mobile payment adoption across Asia

Malaysia trails behind Singapore and Thailand in the pace of adapting to the rapid changes in mobile payment technologies, according to a report from Morgan Stanley. 

In less than ten years since 2011, the assistant governor noted that cheque usage dropped by half to 101 million in 2018 and e-payment acceptance points such as point-of-sale (POS) terminals have also more than doubled to 16 terminals per thousand inhabitants in 2018.

He cited the launch of the Real-time Retail Payments Platform in 2018 which is designed to be more scalable, flexible and open to support new use cases such as Proxy Payments, Request-to-Pay, e-Mandates and services. 

He also stressed the need to expand adoption of e-payments especially as adoption is focused on urban centres and cash is still used for day-to-day expenses like F&B, groceries and fuel in locations like wet markets, night markets and hawker stalls. "New, cost-effective solutions such as QR payments and “Tap-on-Phone”, which leverage on the already high penetration of smartphones in Malaysia, may be preferred over traditional POS terminals," he noted.

He also observed how some payment players offer generous rewards like cashback to stimulate e-wallet usage but fail to sustain the hype once the promotion period is over. "To achieve a more sustainable migration, the industry should strengthen the value proposition of e-payments. Greater focus should be placed on creating innovative and value-added solutions that go beyond payments," he said.  

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