KUALA LUMPUR 10 MARCH 2019. Merchantrade multi-currency card provides e wallet multi-currency services. NSTP/ROSDAN WAHID

KUALA LUMPUR: The growth of cashless payment options, including e-wallet, has grown exponentially in Malaysia and market observers believe it will continue to dominate the space in the coming years.

Driven by rising awareness on mobile wallets and their applications, coupled with growing smart phone penetration and escalating benefits of mobile wallets, many merchants and providers are building creative 'bundled services' for their e-wallet offering, aimed to lure consumers and merchants in using e-wallet as part of their lifestyle.

Despite the multitude of e-wallets available in Malaysia currently, the key factor remains - how consumers transfer money to each other and how consumers pay for products and services, both offline or online.

Factors contributing to this trend include large young and tech savvy population and high financial literacy in Malaysia, and the customised promotion offering for example cashback, convenience and digital receipts.

According to PwC, Malaysia has been a hotbed for e-wallet players in the last few years with the number of approved non-bank e-money issuers in Malaysia increased from 25 players in 2016 to 44 players in the first half of 2018.

Some of the top e-wallet players that has growing footprint in Malaysia are GrabPay, Lazada Wallet, Samsung Pay, BigPay, WeChat Pay, Razer Pay, Touch‘n Go, Alipay with other players like Boost, Sarawak Pay, Kiple, Bayar, and many others that are fighting for a slice of Malaysia's e-wallet market.

Interestingly, local money services businesses have also adopting e-wallet technology, with notable names such as Merchantrade Money Visa Prepaid Card, Valyou Mobile Wallet and Max Money's MaxTerminal, just to name a few.

In this space, leading the race would be Merchantrade Money Visa Prepaid Card, a multi-currency card launched a year ago and gained massive growth in registration and heading towards RM300 million in top up.

Merchantrade Money Visa Prepaid Card only had five currencies made available at the time it was launched, and today, the card offers twenty global currencies, with US dollar, Singapore Dollar, British Pound, Australian Dollar, Indonesian Rupee, Euro, Thai Baht, Yen, Saudi Riyal, China Renminbi, Hong Kong dollar, South Korean Won and Indian Rupee among the popular ones for travelers.

The multi-currency card is accepted at 46 million Visa merchants globally, Visa supported automated teller machines (ATM) and added with VISA PayWave feature for easy paying.

This feature is exceptionally beneficial for parents with children studying abroad, allowing card to card transfer in sending money for their expenses.

Banking on its end-to-end service ecosystem, Mechantrade Asia Sdn Bhd has started providing multi-currency card to cash-driven migrant workers payroll for convenience in sending money home and make seamless transaction across all channels online via mobile app.

In all, e-wallet product and services offering will continue to evolve rapidly in Malaysia, tying up more stapled services in the areas of insurance, e-commerce, food and beverages, hospitality, vehicle rentals and a host of other services.

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