69% Malaysians prefer contactless payments during the pandemic

About 9 in 10 consumers are willing to go entirely cashless if more initiatives are put in place to support digital payments, says study

by NUR HANANI AZMAN

AT LEAST six out of 10 Malaysians depend on the various forms of contactless payment, thanks to Covid-19, according to the UOB Asean Consumer Sentiment Study.

The survey indicated that payments made through mobile banking are the most popular choice with 69% of Malaysian respondents saying they used them more frequently during the pandemic.

Other contactless payments and transactions listed in the survey are Quick Response (QR) code payments (65%), Internet banking (65%) and mobile wallet debit or credit cards (60%).

According to the survey, 75% of Generation Y (Gen Y) relied mostly on mobile banking, while 76% of Baby Boomers preferred Internet banking.

Meanwhile, Gen X (64%) used QR code payments more often.

United Overseas Bank (M) Bhd (UOB Malaysia) MD and country head of personal financial services Ronnie Lim said the findings reflect consumers’ preference on payment solutions based on convenience and needs, especially during the pandemic that minimises physical contact among people.

“The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of contactless payments in Malaysia. In the first 11 months of this year, the total number of digital fund transfers through our all-in-one mobile banking app, UOB Mighty grew more than 76% compared to the previous year.

“From what we have seen, customers prefer to use our mobile banking service to make fund transfers and to pay their bills,” he said in a statement yesterday.

According to UOB Malaysia’s data, DuitNow was the most used digital payment function on the app, accounting for 74% of all digital transactions carried out in the first 11 months of the year.

Despite the increasing frequency of contactless payments’ usage, two-thirds of the respondents still likely used cash at least once a week.

The study showed that about nine in 10 consumers are willing to go entirely cashless if more initiatives are put in place to support digital payments.

Among the improvements that Malaysians expect are — a wider variety of cashless payment options (94%), better security (94%) and greater ease of use (93%).

The UOB Asean Consumer Sentiment Study also found that 55% of Malaysian respondents are spending more during the pandemic, while 27% say the exact opposite is happening.

When asked about the items that they had been spending more on since Covid-19 restrictions came into effect, 67% of consumers said groceries and 63% said food deliveries.

Half of them reported increased spending for Internet services, online learning and health supplements.

The survey also showed that the top categories in Malaysia for reduced expenditure are travel (68%), jewellery (57%), clothes (49%) and homeware and furniture (45%).

To help customers manage their finances better, Lim said the bank recently launched Mighty Insights, the country’s first artificial intelligence (AI)-based digital banking service that helps customers to track and to manage their savings and expenses effortlessly.

“Using UOB’s proprietary AI-driven predictive analytics engine, machine learning and pattern recognition algorithms, Mighty Insights provides customers with personalised insights based on their banking and spending patterns, offering them the most suitable financial solutions to help them save and spend wisely.

“With the assistance of these meaningful insights, our customers can learn to anticipate and to manage their cashflow while increasing savings and reducing debt. This will help them to gain greater control of their finances,” he added.