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How to Benefit From e-Wallets in Malaysia

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“Good morning sir! Welcome to our store.”

“What is your preferred method to make your payment?”

“We accept cash, cards and e-wallets.”

“For e-wallet, we accept Boost, GrabPay, Touch ‘n Go…”

Does this sound familiar to you? This tedious decision can be quite a challenge for those who are indecisive. However, this is a common scenario these days; we’re never short of payment methods although we may be short of funds! Undoubtedly, the rise of e-wallets has given impetus to the evolution of our spending habits.

Most Popular E-Wallets in Malaysia

With the help of the government, many are adopting e-wallets through subsidies like e-Tunai and e-Penjana. The three most popular e-wallets in Malaysia are Boost, GrabPay and Touch ‘n Go.

Boost

  • Backed by Axiata Group
  • One of the pioneers in the Malaysian e-wallet market
  • Accepted at any UnionPay QR merchants
  • BoostUp Reward Programme and CashUp Cashback Programme

GrabPay

  • Backed by Grab
  • Leverages the Grab Ecosystem for GrabFood, GrabRide and other provided services
  • Partnership with Maybank for cross platform use
  • Earn GrabRewards Points from every transaction

Touch ‘n Go e-Wallet

  • Backed by Alipay and Touch ‘n Go
  • Taps into the large existing user base of Touch ‘n Go cards
  • PayDirect: link your Touch ‘n Go Card and pay toll fare directly with your e-wallet balance at participating highways
  • Money-back guarantee: full refund within five working days if your e-wallet is charged erroneously

Irresistible Benefits 

1. Convenience & Safety

What is the first thing you take when you head out? Your wallet or phone? Frankly speaking, I will often forget my wallet, but never my phone. We heavily rely on smartphones today and with the high adoption of e-wallets among merchants, we can easily make payments without cash on hand. Besides, I think everyone has faced the awkward situation of having to squeeze the notes and “syiling” back into your wallet after receiving your change. With an e-wallet, problem solved!

The safety of digital payments is also a concern for some, but data in the e-wallets are encrypted and some providers even provide money back guarantee features to ensure the safety of using their services. It can be also argued that e-wallets have helped to reduce theft cases, which usually occurs with physical cash!

2. A Hassle-free Spending Tracker

Do you always get shocked when checking your bank balance? Clueless on where the money has gone? You can easily check your e-wallet where all transactions made are recorded. Gone are the days of forgetting where you spent your money. Keeping track of your daily spending is crucial to cultivating good financial habits. This provides an overview of your spending patterns and insight as to where you could improve.

3. Promotions and rewards

While having many e-wallets has been confusing for some, the war to acquire users has been beneficial for us consumers. All e-wallets offer their own rewards, and it’s up to you to make the most of it:

  • Boost allows you to earn BoostUp coins with every transaction and exchange for gifts
  • GrabRewards Points comes with an extendable validity feature which technically makes it technically a “never expiring” points system (every point-earning transaction will extend the expiry date of your GrabRewards points till the last day of the 3rd month)
  • Touch n’ Go e-wallet rewards frequent user with cashback vouchers for selected merchants 

All the e-wallet players partner with various merchants to provide attractive promotions to users in a bid to increase their market share. So look out for where you can save and earn through regular activities like refueling your car, buying groceries or even reloading your mobile credit. But please don’t use these promotions as an excuse to spend more than you need to!

4. Your one-stop “private assistant”

Paying your utility bills? Use e-wallet!

Topping up your mobile credit? Use e-wallet!

Sending money to your spouse? Use e-wallet!

The utility of e-wallets is increasing by the day, and are no longer just avenues for sending or receiving money. Many can be used to pay for your parking, buy insurance, settling utility bills and more! There will be definitely more that an e-wallet can do in the near future!

Curbing Your Digital Spending?

For some, e-wallets or digital payments makes it easy to overspend with its convenience. Compared to counting out physical cash notes by hand, a big purchase simply requires a scan or swipe. Credit cards already made it easy to spend in the past, so the focus should not be on blaming such platforms, but rather on what you can control in terms of your spending habits:

1. Set a monthly top up limit 

To avoid overspending, you must know how much you have. For example, if your spending budget is set at RM500, only reload RM500 into your e-wallet and make sure it lasts the whole month! If you’re out of credit before the month is over, you’ll know you need to fix your spending habits. Don’t top-up until next month as a reminder to stick to your budget!

2. Only reload with your bank account or debit card

I understand many will argue that we should optimise rewards on both ends by reloading e-wallets with credit cards. However, from a licensed financial planner’s perspective, this is not necessarily suitable for beginners who have just started to learn how to manage their spending. Only use this option when you are confident about your financial planning. If not, please don’t borrow money from your credit card to support your e-wallet spending habits!

About the Author

Ocean Pon is a Licensed Financial Planner and likes to help millennials make wiser financial decisions to achieve financial independence. He can be contacted at oceanpon@finwealth.com.my

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