Watsons Malaysia managing director Caryn Loh and Axiata Digital Services Mohd Khairil Abdullah at the launch of Boost app in collaboration with Watsons. Pix by ASWADI ALIAS

KUALA LUMPUR: Axiata Digital Services, the owner of homegrown e-wallet Boost, expects the e-wallet market to consolidate to between three and five main players in the next two to three years.

Axiata Digital chief executive officer Mohd Khairil Abdullah said there would possibly be other niche e-wallets that focus on specific segments.

“Many e-wallet players may not have the capacity to sustain the business either financially or in terms of gaining user acceptance fast enough to remain relevant.

“Interoperability will also be key and Boost is supportive of it through our partnerships with an ever growing list of local and international brands,” he told NST Business recently.

This year, Khairil said there will likely be more providers launching this year.

“We think this is good for the cashless ecosystem as they will also help drive usage and educate users on the convenience, security and benefits of using an e-wallet,” he said.

To date, there are over 40 e-money licenses issued by Bank Negara Malaysia.

Earlier, iPay88 Holdings Sdn Bhd executive director Chan Kok Long said he also expects the same trend to take place in the near future.

Meanwhile, Khairil said in 2018, Boost grew its user-base by nearly six times and today, it is the leading e-wallet in Malaysia with over 3.5 million registered users.

“Our users can use their e-wallets at over 60,000 merchant touchpoint, online and offline, throughout Malaysia covering a wide range of partner brands.

“This is indicative that Malaysians are ready to go cashless and it could be down to several reasons.

“For consumers, it may be cashback rewards, the convenience or the security of using an e-wallet.

“For merchants, e-wallets can be an effective marketing asset, it builds customer loyalty and is a powerful tool for fraud management,” he said.

Khairil said what is clear to see is that customers are looking for more lifestyle features from their e-wallet and this is not limited to the younger digital natives.

“Apart from QR-based payment which any e-wallet can do, we see a growing number of customers wanting to use their Boost e-wallets for a number of other day-to-day transactions like shopping at e-commerce sites, bill payment, taking public transport and paying for public on-street parking.

“E-wallets are fast becoming an essential part of the digital lifestyle many Malaysians have adopted and Boost is well positioned to bring these features that customers find very useful,” he said.

Khairil said another encouraging trend that the company sees is the huge growth in usage.

“From January to December 2018, the average monthly amount transacted per Boost user has grown by 14 times indicating increased trust in our e-wallet.

“The average total number of transactions per user each month also doubled during the course of the year which can indicate that users have become more comfortable using Boost and it coincided with our strong growth in merchant touchpoints,” he said.