With Covid-19, the use of physical cash can become a health risk. Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) had warned people about touching cash, as it potentially could spread the coronavirus. WHO had further advocated using contactless payments as a safer alternative.
In Malaysia, small business retailers are encouraged to accept contactless payments, especially via e-wallets. This was encouraged years before the pandemic, however, the take-up rate among small businesses was low, as they perceived a cost to business from using the e-wallets apps.
For Malaysian consumers, to promote the adoption of e-wallets, the government had given cash incentive in the form of a RM20 credit in 2019 and a RM50 credit in 2020 into one of the three mobile-wallets of the recipient’s choice. This is part of the overall government objective of digitizing the economy and growing the country’s fintech sector.
With the pandemic, e-wallets usage grew tremendously with one e-wallet company revealed a ten-fold increase in its app usage. According to a Mastercard study, Malaysia has the highest adoption rate among the countries in the ASEAN region. However, there are a proliferation of e-wallets available in Malaysia, with over 50 ewallets available.
However, as most local consumers and mobile-wallet users know, paying with e-wallets can sometimes be more troublesome. Some retailers accept only certain e-wallet companies, which consumers may not use or have enough balance in that e-wallet, as they have their preferred e-wallet.
Luckily, that is now changing, thanks to DuitNow, which is introducing QR codes for individuals and businesses to use. DuitNow was previously only available via online banking transfer and via mobile phone numbers. With DuitNow QR codes, retailers and small business owners can display their QR code to receive money from customers from any Malaysian banks without revealing their bank account details.
The advantage for small businesses includes instant receiving of funds directly into their bank account and no fees charged up to RM5,000. This is certainly an advantage over e-wallets, which charge a fee to users to transfer funds into their bank accounts, with a delay of at least one day, if not more.
Individuals can also show their own QR codes to receive funds. This would work well with street vendors as well as those who are eligible for pocket money or ang-pows.
Farah Ishak is a Content Writer at Halalop. She grew up in the United Kingdom where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Management. Later, she completed her MBA and held senior-level positions in Malaysian based MNC. She left the corporate world to be with her young kids. She is passionate about issues concerning Muslim women, Startups and Muslim businesses in general.
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