Mastercard Survey: Malaysia has the highest eWallet usage in Southeast Asia

According to Mastercard Impact Study 2020, Malaysia leads its neighbours in Southeast Asia in the usage of mobile and digital wallets. Based on the results, the usage in Malaysia is at 40% followed by the Philippines at 36%, Thailand at 27% and Singapore at 26%. The study was based on inputs gathered from 10,000 consumers and business professionals across 10 markets in Asia Pacific.

Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic which saw the implementation of movement restrictions has helped to increase adoption of e-commerce, digital payments and preference for online activities. Although most countries in the region have started to lift restrictions, it is likely that some of these trends and habits would remain in the new normal.

It was reported that nearly half of consumers surveyed in Malaysia have increased their online shopping activities. Other activities that saw an increase include surfing the internet for news and entertainment (75%), online video streaming (57%), social networking (55%) and home delivery for food or groceries (50%).

64% of Malaysians that participated in the survey have said that they will continue to shop online in the same frequency even after restrictions are lifted. 54% would continue to go for home deliveries and 45% have said that they would continue to work from home.

Apart from eWallets, Malaysians have also shifted to contactless debit cards (26%) and contactless credit cards (22%) for payments. Cash usage has declined by 64% since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and other neighbouring countries are also experiencing the same trend. Cash usage has declined by 67% in Singapore, 64% in the Philippines and 59% in Thailand.

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The survey has found that Malaysia’s digital activities such as online shopping and usage of digital payments were also higher than other markets in Southeast Asia. For the month of April, Malaysians were doing 18% more cashless payments including mobile and QR payments compared to 16% in the Philippines and 15% in both Singapore and Thailand. 24% of consumers in both Malaysia and Singapore have also said that they were using contactless payments more.

To promote cashless transactions, the government is offering RM50 eWallet credit under the PENJANA plan to all Malaysians aged 18 years old and above that are earning less than RM100,000 per year. It was recently announced that Malaysians are also required to download the MySejahtera contract tracing app to be eligible for the RM50 eWallet credit. Under the PENJANA initiative, the credit can only be used for offline purchases at physical stores.

Earlier this year, the previous administration had launched the eTunai Rakyat initiative to increase eWallet adoption. During the program, eligible Malaysians can redeem the RM30 eWallet credit via Grab, Boost and Touch ‘n Go eWallet.


Alexander Wong