So many eWallets, so many choices…

No one wants to be switching to and fro between different eWallets in their phone. 

More than two at any one time, and you’re not only reaping the full benefits of either app – but you’ll probably forget about the money you stored in each of them to begin with.

In our never-ending search to find the eWallet that suits us best, we’ve written this article covering a few key factors that you should consider when deciding on which eWallet to use in the long run.

Let’s look at the bigger picture first

Before we list out the factors in detail, let’s take a look at the 3 overarching factors that all these factors fall under.

  • Usefulness 
  • Ease of use
  • Privacy and Security 

This is quoted from our very own Malaysian academics at the International Islamic University of Malaysia, who published their paper on the Factors Influencing the Use of E-wallet as a Payment Method among Malaysian Young Adults just earlier this year. 

In their paper, the perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use as well as privacy and security all contribute to consumers’ behavioral intention for eWallet usage.

Expanding off these 3 factors, let’s explore more on some of the most important factors Malaysians should consider when choosing an eWallet.

Factors to consider when choosing an eWallet in Malaysia.

  • How many merchants do they have?
  • Do they charge any fees?
  • What rewards will you get?
  • How protected is your money and personal data?
  • Specific features relevant to you

1- How many merchants do they have?

What’s the point of a fantastic, well-developed eWallet if you can’t use it anywhere?

In our ultimate guide where we compared the top eWallets in Malaysia for 2020, we listed the merchant count for some of the top eWallets in the market. 

Touch n’ Go eWallet boasted a whopping 150,000, while closed-loop eWallets like Setel can only be used at a single merchant by design. 

It’s also important to note that many eWallets don’t have independent merchants but partner with credit card networks. 

GoPayz for example, is accepted wherever UnionPay, Visa and Mastercard is accepted. On the flipside, this rules out smaller merchants who don’t have a credit card terminal. 

Even more important than the number of merchants however, is who those merchants are. 

If you’re someone who tracks your every expenditure, you may notice certain patterns arise in where you’re spending your money. An eWallet which is accepted at all (or most) of the merchants you typically spend with is one to look out for!

2- Do they charge any fees?

EWallets can charge fees for either the merchant or the user. But don’t worry users – you can breathe easy. Most Malaysian eWallets in general are free to use (key: most). 

Most Malaysians aren’t willing to commit to an eWallet if they know they’ll be charged a fee, no matter how small that fee is. We’re willing to bet you feel the same way too.

Hence, always do your due diligence and keep an eye out for possible fees you’ll be charged. Some examples include withdrawal fees, currency conversion fees, and fees to upgrade your account or expand your eWallet limit. 

Read more on our article here where we delve more in-depth into the types of fees eWallets charge.

3- What rewards will you get?

When choosing which eWallet to use, rewards tend to be the primary factor most Malaysians consider first. 

Rewards may come in the form of cashback, promotions with selected merchants, or reward points which are the most ubiquitous. 

Note that most eWallets in Malaysia have more than one layer of rewards in place. We explain the reward schemes for Boost, GrabPay and Touch ‘n Go eWallet in detail here.

4- How protected is your money and personal data?

As concluded by our Malaysian academics in their paper earlier, privacy and security is crucial to eWallet adoption. 

But what does this mean to you as a user?

While there are no specific parameters set out by Bank Negara for a user to assess the risk of an eWallet, the Guidelines on Electronic Money does state that issuers must ensure proper risk management is in place. 

So be wary of eWallets which are not licensed by Bank Negara, read through all the T&C, and comply with the lengthy registration procedures some issuers may require.

5- Other features which may be relevant to you

The above are the most important factors to consider when choosing an eWallet. These 4 key factors aside, you should also base your decision on features which are important for you.

  • If you travel often…

An eWallet’s global presence and currency conversion fee are worth noting.

  • If you always forget to top up your eWallet…

Look out for an auto-debit feature.

  • If you’re always transferring money to your parents/kids/relatives…

An instant transfer feature will not only be convenient, but rewarding too.

  • If you find paying your utility bills a drag…

Utility bill payments will be a lifesaving feature for you, and luckily aren’t that uncommon. 

The best eWallet to use in Malaysia according to these 4 features.

Number of merchantsMaybank Anytime Anywhere (MAE)MAE boasts the most merchants as found in our comparison article, at 250,000+ and counting.
Fees and chargesGrabPay, Touch’n Go eWalletAt present, GrabPay and Touch’n Go eWallet are completely free to use by users, with no hidden fees.
RewardsBoostBoost has multiple layers of rewards including CashUP, Shake Rewards and their loyalty programme.
Privacy and protection GrabPayGrabPay boasts award-winning anti-fraud technology and in 2016, won the Best Fraud Prevention Innovation 2016 award

Did we miss anything? Which factor is most important to you when choosing an eWallet to commit to? Let us know in the comments below. 

To read more on what features eWallets in Malaysia have, check out our recent article linked here.

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