Malaysians favour contactless payments during the pandemic

FEW years ago, contactless or cashless payment was already on the rise in Malaysia. Although it was not very welcomed by the older generation who believes in using hard cash to make payment, cashless payment was very much welcomed by the younger generation.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated and steepened the adoption curve of cashless payment in Malaysia.

According to the UOB ASEAN Consumer Sentiment Study, COVID-19 has compelled at least six in 10 Malaysians (69%) to depend more heavily on the various forms of contactless payment.

The UOB study was participated by more than 3,500 respondents from five Asean countries (including more than 600 respondents in Malaysia).

Besides that, other contactless payment and transaction services that have become preferred payment options in Malaysia include Quick Response (QR) code payments (65%), internet banking (65%) and mobile wallet debit or credit cards (60%).

Among the different age groups, the study found that Generation Y (75%) relied mostly on mobile banking, while Baby Boomers (76%) preferred internet banking and Generation X (64%) used QR code payments more often.

“The findings reflect consumers’ preference for payment solutions that are convenient and are able to meet their everyday needs, especially during the pandemic when physical contact has to be minimized,” commented UOB Malaysia’s managing director and country head of personal financial services Ronnie Lim.

Additionally, in the first 11 months of this year, the total number of digital fund transfers through UOB’s all-in-one mobile banking app, UOB Mighty, grew more than 76% compared with the previous year.

As for the country’s top lender Malayan Banking Bank Bhd (Maybank), sign-up rates for its MAE digital wallet doubled, while GrabPay Malaysia’s cashless transactions have grown by about 1.7 times since movement control order was implemented in March.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered’s latest global survey revealed almost two-thirds (73%) of Malaysian survey respondents agreed that COVID-19 has made them more positive about online shopping.

Additionally, 51% of the respondents now prefer online payments to the in-person card or cash payments. Before the pandemic, only 30% of the respondents said they preferred shopping online before the pandemic compared to 70% who preferred shopping in-person.

The Standard Chartered study involved 12,000 adults across 12 markets, namely Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Kenya, China, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US.

Cashless payments are now the ‘new normal’ and it’s unlikely that most people will switch back to cash as the shifts to contactless payments is irreversible. – Dec 30, 2020

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