E-wallets when they were new: you can pay using your phone, how exciting is that!!! Leave your wallets at home hehe
E-wallets now: Here have this discount. Nah the best exchange rates in the industry. Use our new user interface – it costs us millions in R&D! PLEASE JUST USE US PLEASE
Okay maybe not in those words, but competition is TOUGH between e-wallet providers. Between BNM’s List of Non-Bank E-Money Issuers and FintechNews Malaysia listings, there are around 50 or so individual e-wallets in Malaysia. And more will probably enter the market.
Who are there? What are they good for? The options are now wide enough for me to do an article that I’ve always wanted to do: categorising e-wallets in Malaysia. I came up with 7 types, and what they are best used for. Hopefully this guide can help you discover interesting new fintech companies in Malaysia.
#1 – The Big Three
You know who they are:
- TnG e-wallet (currently my fave)
Use it for: discounts/cashback/vouchers,
cash handouts from the govt, widest range of features (as of Feb 2021: ride-hailing, food delivery, pay parking, pay bills, buy mobile top-up, send deliveries, buy insurance, hire service providers, book hotels and travel packages, make donations and more)
#2 – E-wallets that comes with debit cards
Next are the ones that features Visa or Mastercard debit cards. Leaders in this category:
- MAE by Maybank
- BigPay (use code ‘INLALP7ZLE’ to get free RM10)
- MyMy (Homegrown Malaysian; has been in beta for a while)
Use it for: travelling, better currency exchange rates (good for buying stuff priced in USD etc), budgeting interface and expense tracker
#3 – E-wallets for ‘lifestyle’
This is probably the biggest e-wallet category. There are maybe 15 or more positioning itself to be lifestyle e-wallets for Malaysians. Leaders in this category:
- GoPayz by Umobile (also provides micro-insurance, currency exchange, remittance, zakat payment etc) (I’m confused by Umobile’s strategy and this range of services tbh)
- Zapp ewallet (has a chat function) (download via this link for free Junior Scoop Baskin Robbins)
- (and more. I’m not sure if they’re still active or able to compete in this space)
Use it for: discounts
#5 – E-wallets by e-commerce platforms
Hey if I’m an e-commerce platform, I’d make an e-wallet too. Getting users to spend all the money in the e-wallet ONLY in my platform is a great strategy!
- Lazada Wallet
- Presto (by PrestoMall)
Use it for: discounts and/or free shipping, additional payment protection
#6 – E-wallets for certain locations
And now the e-wallets get kookier 🙂 Leaders in this category:
- 1Pay (1Utama mall’s e-wallet)
- AEON e-wallet
- Setel – Petronas’s e-wallet for petrol payments
Lesser-known ones (not much info and not sure if actively used/updated):
- Kedah Pay
- Mydin e-wallet
Use it for: cashback, discounts, loyalty points, state pride
#7 – E-wallets for very specific target audiences/use case
This is my favourite category of e-wallets in Malaysia. Rather than saying ‘we serve everyone’, they have identified a very specific target audience and said, well who cares about the rest lol.
Leaders in this category:
- KiplePay – ‘e-wallet for students and education sector’
- Merchantrade Money – for cross-border money transfer (ie remittance)
- Instapay – for employers to pay salary for (foreigner) employees
- Samsung Pay – for Samsung users
- Vircle – for parents to ‘safely introduce children to the world of contactless payments, teaching them responsible spending and consumption habits’
- (and more, thanks to e-wallet white label solution Fasspay)
Of all the rest, I see this list growing more in the future! #blueoceanstrategy
Which e-wallets are you using/want to try out?
As someone who is in full support of the digital economy, I do encourage you to check out the above e-wallet players – especially #7 – and see if they can solve any of your existing problems. I think using e-wallets is an *excellent* way for someone to explore fintech as a beginner, before moving on to more complicated solutions like DeFi.
So, how many e-wallets do you currently have installed? How many are you using regularly? Which one is your favourite? Which ones do you want to check out? Let me know in the comments!
Bonus section: Advantages and disadvantages of using e-wallets in Malaysia
Just a quick section highlighting the main advantages and disadvantages of e-wallets that you must know.
Advantages – safe and convenient
E-wallets are generally safe to use. If fraud or theft happens, it’s mostly because the users need to have better digital security practices.
You also can’t argue with the convenience factor*. Topping up is easy (too easy perhaps), payments are easy (except when the network is down)
*except for iPhones users – we all know making e-wallet payments is a bit mafan because Touch ID > Face ID
Disadvantages – too many options; dark patterns
Too many options isn’t a bad thing, except it kinda is, when you consider most e-wallet platforms don’t allow withdrawals. Once you add funds in it, you can only spend/transfer out to friends/family.
I’d also like to point out Dark patterns – the UI/UX tricks that companies do to get you to spend more. Some of them are fairly innocent, like using count-down timers to encourage faster checkouts. Others are borderline unethical, like GrabPay implementing Buy Now, Pay Later to give a false sense of affordability and encourage unnecessary spending.
Alright that’s all. Stay safe while using e-wallets kids!