The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the country’s economy but has also presented opportunities and circumstances for certain industries to grow and thrive. One such industry is the e-wallet industry, particularly as the need for contactless payment arises. E-wallets have been mushrooming in Malaysia over the last few years, with new platforms surfacing every now and then.
This upward trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon and the industry will only continue to flourish as demands rise, particularly after the government announced an allocation of RM750 million last year to promote the adoption of e-wallets in Malaysia as part of a series of economic stimulus under the PENJANA recovery plan.
This year, under the PEMERKASA program, there is the eBelia programme that is set to distribute RM300 million worth of e-wallet credit to two million youths aimed to help relieve their financial burden as well as promote cashless spending.
Money Compass sat down (virtually) with Mr Alain Yee, Head of ShopeePay Malaysia, one of the four e-wallet service providers for the eBelia programme, to get more insight on the opportunities, challenges, and the general public’s reception of the e-wallet industry in Malaysia from the eyes of the industry players themselves.
How did ShopeePay get started?
ShopeePay is a mobile wallet launched in 2019 in Malaysia that is integrated with the Shopee app, with easy access to digital payment services.
For our users, ShopeePay provides them with a seamless shopping experience when they make online payments on Shopee, top up their wallets, transfer and withdraw funds as well as make payments offline at thousands of merchants nationwide.
ShopeePay makes it easier to shop and do business. All ShopeePay users, both business and shopper, get to enjoy a convenient, secure and rewarding payment option.
Why should Malaysians go cashless and adopt e-wallets?
If there’s one thing most of us can’t do without in this day and age, it is our smartphones. We no longer just use it to make phone calls, we can settle our banking needs, put money in fixed deposits (FD), shop for what we need on Shopee, and also order our food online.
There’s a saying, you can go out without your wallet but you cannot go out without your phone.
Adopting an e-wallet like ShopeePay offers convenience rather than carrying cash around in your pockets.
Think about it – you go to Nando’s, order a quarter Peri-peri chicken to take away, pay with ShopeePay and even earn a cashback. It is also faster – you just need to scan to pay, and done.
You don’t even have to take out your wallet, handle cash which could be unhygienic and after all, your phone is already in your hands. On hygiene, this is also the safer option too amid the current pandemic and rising cases in the country.
What are the benefits of spending with ShopeePay compared to other e-wallet services?
Among the benefits of ShopeePay is that it provides one-stop access to a huge ecosystem of businesses, thus providing convenience and more choices to consumers.
At the same time, our mobile wallet is integrated with rewards on the Shopee platform such as Shopee coins and access to additional vouchers, thus allowing our users to save more in the long run.
We recently launched the ‘Deals Near Me’ feature which is supported by location-based services to efficiently connect ShopeePay users to offline merchants, offering users the best deals and ShopeePay Vouchers in their immediate vicinity also gives our users further savings.
This means the app is able to show the relevant deals by our participating merchants to consumers starting with the stores that are closest to them.
The best thing about ShopeePay is that it can be used both offline and online.
Offline – you can now pay with ShopeePay at outlets like 99Speedmart, MyNews, Mydin, Caltex, Tealive, Nando’s and more.
Online – not only can you use ShopeePay on Shopee, you can also make payments with ShopeePay when shopping via web stores/apps like Machines, KFC, Photobook.
What are the challenges in implementing the usage of e-wallet among Malaysians?
Seeing as many of the older generation also make up the business owners and petty traders community, the adoption of e-wallets as a method of payment amongst them is at a relatively slower pace.
For example, the acceptance of e-wallets among petty traders and hawkers at pasar malams, wet markets, the local kedai runcits, food courts, and even the Ramadan bazaars needs to be encouraged further.
We have taken the first steps through the recent onboarding of some 300 traders in Ramadan bazaars, and we look forward to do more.
How different are the spending habits and behaviour of the young people today compared to the generation/s before them?
We are catering to the lifestyle of young consumers by partnering with businesses such as Tealive, which is popular among them. In our recent campaign with them from 10 March to 30 April this year, we achieved the target to sell 80,000 cups of bubble tea in just ten days.
At the same time, we are seeing the adoption of e-wallets growing among the older generation. Earlier this year, Shopee saw a 4x uplift in the total number of orders completed by ShopeePay across the region. The greatest increase recorded in most markets was from users above 50 years of age.
We are expanding our merchant network to cater to the masses, which includes this growing population of older consumers who are more likely to fulfill their daily necessities from merchants like Billion Supermarket, Caltex and MR DIY.
How do you think the usage of e-wallet can help improve the younger generation’s spending habits and financial management today?
From a physical day-to-day standpoint, an e-wallet provides convenience to many as we no longer need to carry around cash and cards, and depend on our mobile devices.
However, if not careful one can easily overspend as e-wallets can be linked to multiple cards at one go.
An easy way for financial management would be to limit the amount of money stored in one’s e-wallet to ensure that the spending does not exceed the said amount for the month.
Another way e-wallets help is through providing vouchers and cashback rewards. By knowing how to utilize the best voucher deals as well as enjoy cashback rewards at selected outlets, one can easily lower their expenditure while enjoying these benefits.
How important is it that we elevate the awareness in the younger people of the benefits of using e-wallets in terms of financial management and what are the steps that should be taken by e-wallet service providers and financial institutions in the efforts of educating them?
For a generation connected to the internet 24-7, e-wallets come as a convenience as it allows them to spend both online and offline directly from their devices without the need to pull out cash or cards.
In terms of financial management, e-wallets provide easier expenditure tracking as every transaction is recorded for your review.
What’s next for ShopeePay?
As Deals Near Me is still new to the market, our current focus is to continue to grow it to help offline merchants connect with users.
We’ve also recently partnered with PTPTN to encourage the community to repay their loans through the cashless feature as an effort to help curb COVID-19.
Besides that, we’re currently running a campaign that gives you RM5 in your e-wallet when you upgrade your ShopeePay account from Basic to Premium by verifying their accounts. This campaign is for users between the ages of 18-20, in hopes to encourage the youth to upgrade their ShopeePay accounts for better security.
Edited by: Farah Alya Faisal