The recent announcement of Budget 2020 themed “Shared Prosperity: Sustainable and Inclusive Growth towards High Income Economy” by our Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng, has been the hot topic of the town. Our Government has expressed concern towards the low adoption of digital payments among Malaysia community, which is only 8% according to a survey report by Nielsen in January this year.

By transforming into a cashless society, Malaysia would benefit from annual cost saving of 1% in our GDP, as evidenced by the Bank Negara Malaysia’s Financial Sector Blueprint for 2011 to 2020.

To drive Malaysia towards the Information & Communication Technology (ICT) and Industry 4.0, the Government has introduced a one-time RM30 digital stimulus for eligible Malaysians aged 18 and above with an annual income less than RM100,000. To redeem this stimulus, the users are required to possess an identity-verified e-wallet from the selective service providers. By encouraging the adoption of e-wallets among the merchants and SMEs, this approach is believed to benefit up to 15 million Malaysians. The Government has allocated RM450 million to Khazanah Nasional for the implementation of this policy, which reflects the Government’s determination to boost the growth of the e-wallets.

Our country’s Internet penetration rate is reported at 80%, whilst smartphone penetration is recorded at 63%. Thus, the outlook for digital payments is certainly bright entering into the year 2020 and beyond. In recent years, the prominence of e-wallets in Malaysia has grown significantly, mainly driven by the Government’s effort and active marketing efforts by the merchants, as discounts and promotions are proved to be the most attractive marketing strategies to Malaysians.

Now, let’s have an overview of the features of e-wallets available in Malaysia and the benefits from using them.


The ride-hailing company Grab has unlocked the GrabPay e-wallet feature in its app for Malaysia users. The Grab app emerges as the most actively used app, according to a research conducted by App Annie Intelligence, which is a mobile data and analytics platform, together with iPrice Group, an information aggregator platform in Southeast Asia. As part of the Grab Platform ecosystem, the GrabPay could be used by the Grab users to by pay for Grab rides, GrabFood (food delivered by Grab) and in-store items. The deep integration of GrabPay into Grab’s other services is the competitive advantage of Grab over other e-wallet apps. With GrabPay, the Malaysian consumers could own an e-wallet without downloading an additional app.

To encourage Grab users to adopt GrabPay, GrabPay has integrated with the Grab Rewards scheme. The users could earn points from each transaction, which could be used to earn free Grab rides and discounts on GrabFood in future. The built-in credit transfer feature allows the users to transfer money instantly via phone number or Grab QR codes within the app. Another unique feature is the GrabPay’s robust wallet top-up option, ranging from online banking (FPX and MOLPay), debit and credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Union Pay and JCB) and even offline at 7-eleven outlets. Let’s not forget their recent partnership with Maybank. The consumers could not only use their GrabPay Credits at participating GrabPay merchants, but also Maybank’s nationwide network of QR-enabled merchants.

Good news to KLIA Ekspres users! The KLIA Ekspres is known as a non-stop high-speed train service that connects the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and the city centre. Under the partnership between Grab and KLIA Ekspres, the commuters could user GrabPay to pay for rides and receive exclusive promotional offers from mid-July 2018.

Notable merchants: Grab e-hailing, TeaLive, Inside Scoop, Domino’s, Baskin-Robbins etc

Touch ‘n Go eWallet

As of the third quarter of 2019, the Touch ‘n Go eWallet is known as the second most used and downloaded e-wallet according to the research conducted by App Annie Intelligence and iPrice Group. After installing the app into smartphone, the users have to register their valid contact number, set a unique 6-digit pin and security questions and answers. There are many complimentary TNG reload pin easily available via online for first-time users. The users could use the e-wallet to pay their bills, shopping sprees and purchase movie ticket. A special feature of TNG eWallet is the dynamic QR code payments, where a new code would be generated for each transaction on the customer’s side, whereas other e-wallet app only allows scanning the QR code on the merchant’s side.

Since the main purpose of introducing Touch ‘n Go eWallet was to make toll payments more convenient, the PayDirect feature allows the users to connect e-wallet with up to three physical Touch ‘n Go (TNG) cards. They could use the credit in their e-wallet to pay for toll at participating highways by tapping the cards on the reader or utilizing their existing SmartTAG. The TNG card would only be charged if there is insufficient credit when the user is using it on TNG and SmartTAG lanes. On the other hand, only eWallet balance would be deducted if the driver is driving a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagged car at RFID lane. Under the first phase, the eWallet feature is only available across the Duke highway.

The TNG eWallet has invested a lot into cybersecurity to address the security concerns of majority users. It employs a sophisticated security system powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies. These cybersecurity technologies learn and monitor a user’s usage patterns in real time. Any unusual activity would be detected immediately. Besides, the TNG eWallet adds a layer of customer protection through their Money Back Guarantee policy. The users could claim refunds within five working days for unauthorised transactions and reload into the eWallet. It is the first-ever security policy for digital payment in Malaysia, which protects the users from any risk of losing money through unauthorised transactions.

The TNG eWallet goes extra miles in terms of security technology. The TNG eWallet complies with the Personal Data Protection Act 2010, assuring their users that the company prioritizes customer privacy and prevent personal information ended up in the hands of unauthorized persons or organisations. When it comes to both security and privacy, TNG eWallet is by far the best now.

Notable merchants: Open-system toll, TeaLive, Mr. DIY, TGV Cinema, etc


Boost is an e-wallet app invented by the Axiata Digital eCode Sdn Bhd, which is under the Axiata Grop – the Malaysian telecommunications conglomerate anda also known as one of the ICMS Partner. The step to use Boost is just as easy as scanning a Quick Response (QR) code at Boost’s participating merchants or generate a Dynamic QR code after downloading the app into your smartphone.

There are two options available to users: Basic Wallet and Premium Wallet. Basic Wallet is the default option which limit the amount of money stored in the digital wallet up to RM200, with a limit of RM1,000 on monthly transaction and a limit of RM100 in sending money to other Boost users. By providing their NRIC details, the users could upgrade to Boost Premium Wallet for free! Other than increasing the limit on the amount of money stored and sent to others, and daily and monthly transaction, the Premium Wallet user could cash out their money from Boost Wallet to their bank account! This is a unique feature that is seldom found in other e-wallet apps, which could be another reason for you to use Boost!

The online and offline merchant touchpoints of Boost are nationwide due to its partnership with UnionPay. It can be used almost everywhere, even in night markets and food trucks! The “Go Dutch” feature by Boost assists in bill splitting, which allows the users to divide group payment. Another interesting feature is the Boost’s Digital Shop, which sells digital vouchers at great discount. The available brands cater to numerous segments, ranging from game (Garena, MOL Points), online shopping (11 Street – another brand under Axiata group, Lazada), food (Tealive, myBurgerlab) and music (Joox, Spotify). These vouchers could be sent out as gifts to your loved ones via the app, including non-Boost users!

Here’s also a great news to Celcom users! They could enjoy zero-rated Internet charges while using the Boost app since Celcom is one of the products under the Axiata conglomerate.

Notable merchant: 99 Speedmart, myBurgerLab, CARiNG Pharmacy, KFC, Shell, SYABAS etc


BigPay was introduced by the AirAsia Bhd Group, which their CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes believes that “one day this product will worth more than @AirAsia”. Unlike other e-wallets, the AirAsia’s Bigpay functions like a normal debit or credit Mastercard that is managed by its Bigpay app. Hence, the users could not only make payment at over 35 million Mastercard global merchants, but also withdraw cash at any ATM that has a Mastercard logo. The users are not required to open a bank account due to its prepaid nature. Instead, all they need to do is to install the BigPay app, apply for a BigPay card and top up sufficient spending before spending.

BigPay supports transfer of money from peer to peer among the contacts that have a BigPay Card without any extra charge. The users could perform international transaction to the bank accounts in other countries, such as Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Good news to travel lovers is, they could earn AirAsia BIG loyalty points on each transaction and enjoy zero processing fees or free flight when booking a flight with AirAsia!

You are encouraged to take advantage of the RM10 referral incentive by using up BigPay using promo code from your friends. You could also stand a chance to win RM300 through BigPay draw.

Notable merchant: Airasia

Embrace the digital revolution and go cashless now to enjoy the numerous advantages!

About the Writer

Ng Cheng Yuan is a Director of the ICMS-MY Finance Division 2019/20 and an Accounting student in TAR UC aiming to pursue her ACCA professional papers. An active learner who constantly seeks to develop new skills to create an all-rounded lifestyle, she’s incredibly passionate about inspiring the people around her through her life-changing stories and experience.