E-wallet, e-commerce services are here to stay

The services boomed in the past couple of years with people opting the safest and fastest way to shop and pay

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by TMR FILE

THE adoption of e-wallet, contactless payment methods and e-commerce services among people are expected to stay and continue its growth beyond the pandemic as people are more accustomed to paperless transactions.

Putra Business School Assoc Prof Dr Ahmed Razman Abdul Latiff said the e-wallet and e-commerce services boomed in the past couple of years with people opting the safest and fastest way to shop and pay.

He added that although the pandemic is slowly easing, the two digital platforms will continue to grow at the same pace as people get used to cash and conventional methods of payments and shopping.

“I believe that both e-wallet and e-commerce will continue to grow exponentially for the next few years.

“People are now more comfortable and prefer these methods over the conventional methods due to ease of use and convenient factors.

“We have seen how developed countries are becoming more digitalised in their daily life and Malaysia will also follow suit soon,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

Ahmed Razman emphasised that the shift definitely speaks to the health and safety concerns of both businesses and consumers, however, experts have always vouched for the convenience, speed and security factor of digital payments.

Therefore, he said the adoption will continue to be a must-have for consumers long after Covid-19 recedes from the headlines.

Echoing similar views, Bank Islam Malaysia chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid highlighted that Covid was a major catalyst for the adoption of digital payments and digital forms of commerce.

He noted that as countries around the world continue to encourage the methods of contactless payment and online shopping, their usage and adoption will accelerate despite the pandemic.

“I doubt that the proliferation of e-wallet and e-commerce would wear off as the economy begins to recover.

“In fact, I believe it would thrive due to its convenience and product offering that goes beyond just transacting. To some degree, it can be a competition to the financial institutions,” he told TMR.

Mohd Afzanizam said he believes that the new landscape would benefit the consumers and perhaps, it would also be a catalyst for better financial literacy as spending now can be tracked digitally.

The findings from the latest Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes study showed that the majority of Malaysian consumers (55%) can successfully live for more than a week without using cash.

This represents a 13% increase compared to the previous year.

The study also revealed that the pandemic has prompted Malaysian consumers to choose digital payments over cash in the longer term, where more than one in four of the respondents (28%) said they are likely not to use cash after the pandemic.

It added that more than seven in 10 Malaysians (74%) have tried going cashless over the past year.

Meanwhile, the study said for those who had never tried going cashless, half (50%) said they are confident to live their daily lives without cash for up to a week.

“Malaysian consumers believe the pandemic has accelerated the time it will take for the country to become a cashless society. In the current circumstances, they believe a cashless society could be a possibility by 2025.

“If the pandemic had not happened, respondents thought a cashless Malaysia would not be possible until 2028,” it noted.

In addition, the study said Malaysians believe that a cashless society also brings a number of benefits such as curbing the spread of the virus (58%), providing users with the ability to track financial records easily (54%), lowering the risk of theft (52%), offering users a hassle-free experience, eliminating the need to queue at banks (52%) among others.

It also revealed that there is a growth in cashless payment adoption, especially via QR payments (60%), mobile wallets (54%) and contactless cards (51%).

This is primarily seen in categories such as bill payments, supermarket, retail shopping, purchases at convenience stores, and food and dining.