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e-wallet Malaysia: Just our smartphone and NO more wallets? 

A few weeks ago, a close friend went to Shanghai and came back to tell me that her credit card was virtually useless. Even cash was not widely accepted. Everything was E. As soon as she stepped out of her hotel, it was E-payment for taxi, E-payment for restaurants, E-payment for shopping, E-payment for everything! In fact to pay back to colleagues, only the smartphone is needed! I am not so sure how Visa and MasterCard is feeling now but China is already in a different league today. Of course these days, even in Malaysia, it’s usually just wave or entering the pin when we pay via credit cards. Anyway, when nearly everyone I know in Malaysia has a smartphone, it meant that E-wallet should not be that far behind, using the smartphone as an intermediary, right? I would like it if I could use my smartphone when I pass the Touch ‘n Go instead of always thinking if I have enough balance in my Touch ‘n Go card. My wish may just come true in the near future even if it may not start from the toll booth.
The full article about how CIMB’s subsidiary Touch ‘n Go will partner Alipay to launch e-wallet is in TheStar today. I did not even know Touch ‘n Go is CIMB’s subsidiary! I think this is a huge advantage to CIMB but speed, width and depth will be key. In the article, it was mentioned that there were already 17 million Touch ‘n Go cards issued today. (I personally have 4 though) An industry player said this, “The tie-up will also create new business opportunities for companies to create applications that utilise this new e-wallet.” In brief, E-wallets are typically made up of an application that resides on one’s mobile device, which then can be swiped over a QR code at a merchant’s location for payment of goods or services. To top up, users just need to use the online banking facilities in Malaysia. (And we carry smartphones everyday…)  If Touch ‘n Go e-wallet is launched nationwide, it will enable payments to be made electronically and this is not just for the malls but also very small merchants such as night market vendors and tea stall operators. (Seriously, these vendors and operators may like it more instead of carrying a few thousands of ringgit after they close their stalls at night. Imagine the danger) Do read more in the article here. 
I feel that carrying cash is really not friendly at all. Most of my expenses these days are already carried out through credit cards. I have not been to a bank for a very long time because everything could be settled online. I would also love to travel to foreign countries without worrying too much if the money changer has enough foreign currency for me. I also hate to compare the rates because it may cost me more money to park my car and ask for the rates versus just taking the one that is most convenient to me first. e-wallet would herald a new era for Malaysia. Moving forward is a must, just as cheques are already being phased out slowly. I am very sure when Chinese visitors come to Malaysia, they may prefer to just use what they are already using in China instead of ‘downgrading’ and start using cash again. Besides everything could be tracked and traced back. Money stolen or misplaced would never be recovered. I personally look forward to days when my smartphone is all I need for shopping.
written on 24 July 2017
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Charles Tan The Founder The Writer Kopiandproperty
Charles Tan

Charles is Founder of He writes from his investment experience for the the past 20 years in investments including property, stock, unit trust and more as well as readings and conversations with many property gurus in the industry. is an independent property blog which is not affiliated to any media company, property developer or even real estate agencies.

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0 Responses

  1. Woah, I didn’t know Touch n Go was under CIMB! I agree will be more convenient if everything goes cashless/mobile, but I’m also a bit paranoid about losing my phone (as if I didn’t freak out already when I dig in my bag and can’t find it…lol). I personally still like to use cash as it helps me curb my spending, but it’s definitely a bit more hassle to go to the ATM every time i need more cash (e.g. lunch, small purchases, etc). Although more and more ppl in Malaysia are buying things online and with cards, there are still a lot of places that are not wireless-friendly (pasar malam, rural areas) and also the older generation who do not fully understand or know how to use smartphones.
    P/S: The link to The Star article isn’t working 🙁

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