Mastercard confident of leading role in cashless payment space

The firm will be the preferred system of payment due to the broader acceptance of its payment method at merchant sites


Mastercard Inc is battling it out in the cashless payment space against e-wallet players as consumers now have a lot of options to limit the use of cash in transactions.

Mastercard country manager for Malaysia and Brunei Perry Ong said the company is confident contactless payment via its cards, either debit or credit, will be the preferred system of payment compared to e-wallets due to the broader acceptance of its payment method at merchant sites.

“Why would users want to keep their money in different e-wallets to make a payment when they can simply direct it from one source of fund via their bank?” Ong said at the launch of Mastercard Stay on Beat Contactless Campaign in Kuala Lumpur last Friday.

Simply put, Ong said e-wallets are constrained in a closed loop, unlike Mastercard which has an open loop ecosystem.

Malaysia has seen a tsunami of e-wallet platforms launched as players are quickly jumping on the bandwagon.

To date, Bank Negara Malaysia has approved some 40 e-wallet licences, out of which 35 are to non-bank players and only five are to banking institutions.

Ong said Mastercard takes full notice of e-wallets and are “taking it head-on”.

Ong said e-wallet providers will compete among each other to make their respective app as the go-to app with extended offerings and applications in an effort to emulate China’s Alipay and WeChat Pay success stories.

Mastercard, Ong said, is bullish on bringing the contactless payment capability through banks.

“We are firing up our banks. Every bank in Malaysia has a relationship with Mastercard either through debit or credit cards,” he added.

He believes the contactless method is the least friction, most convenient and the quickest way to make a payment compared to paying through an app.

Malaysia has more than 450,000 machines and one-third of that, or 150,000 terminals, are contactless enabled.

Ong added that the country has an existing large base of card users, holding some 51 million cards, which include 41 million debit cards and 10 million credit cards, and Mastercard accounts for a large portion of the total user base.

Mastercard’s data showed contactless transactions have grown 200% year-on-year (YoY) between January and August 2018.

Ong said Mastercard has achieved a three-digit growth YoY consistently since 2016.

Its “Stay on Beat Contactless Campaign” runs until Nov 11, 2018, with Mastercard holders being given an option to redeem instant gifts from a roving truck after spending a minimum of RM50 in a single receipt using Mastercard contactless method.

The roving truck will be activated at Lot 10, MyTown and Bangsar Village 2 in Kuala Lumpur.