Boost sees 288% rise in bill payment transactions

The firm is building an ecosystem with 3 components that will facilitate easier adoption of digital strategies, CEO says

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by TMR FILE

HOMEGROWN e-wallet Boost saw a 288% increase in the number of users paying their bills, including utility, as well as prepaid and postpaid bills, in addition to an uptick of 170% in gross transaction value for bill payments.

This has prompted the firm to expand its stable of billers in the bill payments feature to provide a seamless way for users and merchants to continue paying their primary utility and telecommunication bills digitally.

Users now have the option to pay across 10 types of telecommunication postpaid, prepaid and Internet, water bill in 13 states, as well as tax assessments and parking compounds for seven local councils.

Other popular current billers also include unifi for Internet, Astro for satellite TV, hire purchase repayments with courts and education loans.

Boost CEO Mohd Khairil Abdullah (picture) said the firm is building an ecosystem with three components that will facilitate easier adoption of digital strategies as a means to cater to the rapidly growing digitaland mobile-first generation of consumers.

The three components are cashless payment tools with the e-wallet; micro-financing through sister company Aspirasi; and supporting businesses to move from offline to online under the SME Digitalisation Grant by the Malaysian Digital Economy Corp in partnership with Celcom Axiata Bhd.

Boost will also continue to establish a robust merchant ecosystem to digitally-enable and transform micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), while also providing financing support.

“This would be in the form of principal funding to help them continue their business and protection in the form of insurance, so that they can carry on with their business without having to worry about the pandemic’s implications.

“We now have about 120,000 of merchants in the MSME segment and yet, we’ve only scratched the surface, as there’s only 15,000 of those that had signed up to our e-commerce programme, so we are looking to help more MSMEs to get on their feet back,” he said at a virtual press conference yesterday.

Under the SME Digitalisation Grant, Boost will be providing business solutions that equip offline merchants with digital payment tools, as well as allowing businesses to generate repeat customers using cashback and online listing.

Meanwhile, the launch of its #BoostGotYou campaign’s “Stay at Home” edition is to ensure Malaysians are protected and safe to run businesses and daily routines uninterrupted.

Commenting on the e-wallet industry, Mohd Khairil said it has started to consolidate, creating a sustainable landscape with the emergence of three major industry players, for now.

“If you look at the e-wallet market a year ago, it was an incredibly tough battlefield with a lot of players. I think now, we’ve come to the phase in the industry where there is a little bit more normalcy.

“In the world of e-wallet, I think there is some form of consolidation where there is sort of the emergence of a ‘Big Three’ right now, maybe a fourth player will emerge, but at least within the ‘Big Three’, there seems to be a sustainable landscape ahead,” he said.

Boost, Touch ‘n Go eWallet and Grab Holdings Inc’s GrabPay are the country’s three major e-wallet service providers and have been selected to participate in government initiatives, namely the e-Tunai Rakyat initiative and the ePenjana credit programme.

He said the industry is starting to defragment and that consolidation is happening, not by merger and acquisition per se, but by some smaller players struggling to catch up to the big players and some are dropping out.

“For us, we feel like some of these smaller players have amazing niche use cases that we would want to work with. So rather than fold, we should find ways on how to interoperate and collaborate — such that the smaller players niche use cases can continue to be relevant to its existing users — but work with larger platforms like Boost,” he added.