Take one look at our name, and it’s pretty evident that we’re obsessed with eWallets.
Fortunately, we as Malaysians are spoiled with a broad, diverse range of eWallets to pick and choose from. GrabPay, Boost, Touch ‘N Go…the options are endless.
But it’s that very overload of options that has become a barrier to our adoption of eWallet usage.
If there’s one thing we’ve come to notice over the few years that eWallets have been around, it’s that Malaysians aren’t so much against the idea of eWallets, but simply can’t be bothered with finding the right one for them.
We’d rather just stick to what we know best. After all, old habits die hard.
Despite all that, eWallets seem to be enjoying significant growth still. Comparing Q1 2019 to Q1 2020, the total value of e-money transactions has seen an increase of over 85%! In other words, Malaysians went from transacting 3.4 billion ringgit in Q1 2019 to 6.3 billion ringgit in Q1 2020 via eWallets.
Through our in-depth comparison on 2020’s top eWallets in Malaysia, we hope you can make an informed choice on which eWallet is most suitable for you – and start reaping the benefits you’ve been missing out on.
First things first. What are eWallets?
You may already use eWallets on the daily, but understanding how they work will provide you with some basic info on making better informed transactions.
An eWallet is a digital version of a traditional wallet. To load funds or “cash” into your eWallet, you have to transfer it over from your bank account via debit card, credit card or online banking.
You can then use the funds in your eWallet for anything a traditional wallet might, but with the added benefit of cashback and rewards for every transaction (depending on the eWallet).
Now, eWallets in Malaysia are either network-based or card-based.
Network-based eWallets typically function on a prepaid basis and aren’t directly linked to your bank account. These are eWallets you have to manually top up (or set up automatic deduction). Think GrabPay and Boost.
Card-based eWallets on the other hand, partner with credit card networks such as Visa or Mastercard. As with BigPay, you might have a physical card that comes along with it so you can swipe away as you would with a debit card.
Check these out along with the other resources in our eWallet 101 series to start you off on the right track.
How to choose the best eWallet for your needs
We don’t all want the same thing in life. The same goes for eWallets too. While you might prioritise one with maximum cashback, another user might use it for convenience’s sake.
Very simply, ask yourself “What do I use eWallets most for?” Be realistic!
- Identify what’s important to you
Is it cashback, rewards, convenience, range of features or ease of use?
Some fancy features may seem like a good idea, but they should make no difference to you unless you’re actually going to make good use of it.
Someone who’s always on the go and spending with multiple different merchants will benefit from an eWallet provider with a large breadth of merchants.
On the flipside, you might prefer to use eWallets as a one-stop platform where you can pay for most of your obligations. That’s right! These days, you can pay for everything from your utility bills to insurance and even donations and zakat.
- Compare their features
Once you’ve identified what you’re looking for in an eWallet, set forth and find out which eWallet has it!
Or…you can just scroll down further to check out our recommendations. We’ve saved you all that trouble.
- Know their merchants
Say you run a small business selling baked goods, and your ingredients supplier happens to accept Boost. You’re going to want to use Boost when making your orders to take advantage of the large volume of orders you’re making on a consistent basis.
Likewise, if you shop for groceries at Giant but your eWallet is only accepted at Jaya Grocer, you’re losing out on a significant chunk of would-be rewards.
The bottom line is – factor in not only the merchant count, but also specific merchants you often find yourself spending at.
Malaysia’s Top 10 eWallets of 2020
To date, there are 43 non-bank e-money issuers in Malaysia as listed by Bank Negara. That’s quite a number.
To effectively compare amongst some of the most popular eWallets here in Malaysia, we’ve selected the cream of the crop from well-known favourites like GrabPay to niche contenders such as Setel. These are ranked randomly and in no particular order.
While they each have their respective unique selling points, we’ll first start off by summarising their available features and merchants, before placing them head to head in our comparison table below so you can compare at a glance.
At the very end, we’ll be recommending which eWallets you may find most suitable for you.
Axiata Group’s popular network-based eWallet has made a remarkable mark for itself on the Malaysian eWallet map with its core emphasis on two things – rewards and range of features.
While most eWallets happily grant reward points and the occasional promo code, Boost makes every transaction feel like drawing a lottery. On top of earning Boost coins whenever you spend, their loyalty programme BoostUp allows users a Shake per transaction to earn surprise rewards.
The exact amount of coins you receive depends on various factors. The secret formula isn’t made publicly available but we do know that the number of coins you earn depends on:
- the transaction amount
- type of transaction
- your current level
But that’s just on the rewards end. Most notably, Boost provides users with a range of valuable features you wouldn’t expect from a mere eWallet. These include:
- Pay for parking
- Easily split bills
- Make donations directly from the Boost app
- Pay for your utility bills
Core strengths: Multiple rewards systems, wide range of useful features, accepted by small merchants such as hawkers
Notable features: Bill payments, make donations, CashUp (cashback), Shake Rewards, UnionPay QR payment
Number of merchants: 140,000+
Introduction needed? We think not.
Arguably the most used eWallet in Malaysia, where GrabPay triumphs is in their convenience and popularity. If you can’t be bothered with multiple different apps, Grab’s all-in-one digital ecosystem makes life that much easier.
We’d also like to point out that GrabPay actually boasts award-winning anti-fraud technology and in 2016, won the Best Fraud Prevention Innovation 2016 award. You might have noticed this when registering with Grab for the first time – their registration procedure alone is one of the most comprehensive around.
Core strengths: Easy-to-use interface, wide adoption nationwide, emphasis on safety and security
Notable features: GrabRewards points, credits transfer, prepaid top up
Number of merchants: 3000+
3- Touch ‘n Go eWallet
Since its launch in 2018, TNG eWallet has quickly expanded to become a major contender in the local playing field.
With TNG eWallet, the biggest draw for most users is its PayDirect and RFID feature. PayDirect still requires you to use your Touch ‘n Go card at the toll, but the fares will be deducted directly from your TNG eWallet.
This means that users need not worry about finding themselves with insufficient balance and having to shamefully switch lanes (yes, we’ve all been there).
If you have your car fitted with RFID, your toll fares will be deducted from your TNG eWallet too.
Unlike many other eWallets, TNG eWallet also provides you the option to link your debit/credit card – eliminating a common problem with many eWallets where users find themselves ready to pay at the counter, only to have to top up at the very last minute.
Core strengths: Seamlessly pay for toll, broad selection of merchants
Notable features: Link debit/credit card, abundance of promotions, PayDirect, pay for street parking, Apple services
Number of merchants: 150,000+
In a recent article we published on how to pay zakat with eWallets, we featured GoPayz alongside Boost as these 2 eWallets were the only eWallets in Malaysia who provided this feature.
But…what is GoPayz?
Launched just last year, GoPayz is the brainchild of U Mobile and their first foray into the Fintech ecosystem. The app emphasises on offering affordable digital financial services and is targeted to the everyday Malaysian.
Such services include GoLife – their life insurance product with premiums as low as RM13 for up to RM76,000 coverage. Through the app, users are also able to invest in unit trusts from as low as RM100 as well as perform currency exchange.
In that sense, GoPayz is very much an all-rounded lifestyle app rather than what one would expect from a traditional eWallet. But make no mistake, it still functions just like one.
Users can still spend at merchants, pay bills, and earn rewards points. There’s even a Shake rewards feature similar to that of Boost’s.
You might think that a newbie like GoPayz may lack of merchants, but you’d be glad to know that you can use your GoPayz card at all domestic and international merchants that accept UnionPay, VISA, Mastercard!
Core strengths: Makes financial services accessible to all, physical card allows withdrawal from ATM
Notable features: Card-based, affordable financial services, widely accepted
Number of merchants: All domestic and international merchants that accept UnionPay, VISA, Mastercard
AirAsia’s BigPay was one of the very first card-based eWallets around.
BigPay operates on the premise of having a physical card for users to use as they would with a debit or credit card. Of course, that doesn’t mean that users are limited to physical transactions alone – but it’s a handy feature to have.
Where BigPay really stands out is its affordable international bank transfers. For a fixed fee of between RM5.00 – RM13.00 (depending on country), users can send money to Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.
How about currency exchange fees? Unlike banks which typically charge 2-3%, BigPay doesn’t charge any mark-up fees on currency exchange, but do expect to incur a fee of RM6.00 for local ATM withdrawals with your BigPay card.
Core strengths: Ease of use internationally
Notable features: Card-based, international bank transfers
Number of merchants: All domestic and international merchants (except North Korea and Israel) that accept Mastercard
Not to be mistaken with RazorPay (the payment gateway based in India), RazerPay is an eWallet primarily in the gamer’s niche and a result of the partnership between the gaming giant and Berjaya Corp. At present, RazerPay operates in both Malaysia and Singapore.
Users can top up their RazerPay at any 7-11 store or use their online banking account to add funds.
Other features are basic eWallet features you’d expect to see – top up telco accounts and transfer money to friends and family for example.
We can’t talk about RazerPay without mentioning how they benefit their target demographic of gamers. Users can use the eWallet purchase PIN codes for services such as Razer Gold, Steam Wallet, Garena and Sony PlayStation.
Core strengths: Gamer-centric
Notable features: Top up at 7-11, purchase gaming credits
Number of merchants: 10,000 +
7- MAE (Maybank eWallet)
Maybank Anytime Everyone, or abbreviated as MAE is Maybank’s spanking new eWallet launched just a year ago. You can find it directly in your Maybank2U app.
The eWallet is mainly beneficial to non-Maybank users as it allows the same access to Maybank’s QRPay feature. In other respects, it’s a pretty basic version of an eWallet.
This is in contrast with MaybankPay. MaybankPay is a mobile wallet where you pay by scanning your phone at merchant card terminals, and funds are deducted from a linked Visa Debit, Visa Credit or Visa Prepaid card.
On the other hand, MAE is a traditional network-based eWallet. Users have to top up funds from their bank account into their MAE eWallet and spend from there.
This is marketed by Maybank as a budgeting feature, where users can set aside their monthly budget into MAE and spend from there. Any leftover balance can be transferred back into their Maybank savings account.
Core strengths: Large breadth of merchants (anywhere that accepts Maybank QRPay)
Notable features: Top up at cash deposit machine, split bills, send and request money
Number of merchants: 250,000+
Setel makes paying for petrol at Petronas stations a breeze. Without having to leave their car (except to actually pump the petrol, of course), users can:
- Skip the queue and pay for petrol at Petronas
- No pre-authorisation charge (which credit/debit cards are subjected to)
- Redeem Mesra points via the app
This is especially useful for those with young children in tow and can’t leave their car unattended. Obviously, this is a very different concept from other eWallets, but an interesting one nonetheless.
Note that not all Petronas stations are Setel-enabled. Find one near you here.
Core strengths: Pay for petrol conveniently
Notable features: Keep track of petrol expenditure, redeem Mesra points
Number of locations: 700+
9- Lazada Wallet
Just as with Setel, Lazada Wallet also functions on a closed-loop basis. You can read more about open-loop vs closed-loop eWallets here, but basically – closed-loop eWallets are exclusive to a specific retailer.
Meaning, you can only use Lazada Wallet to purchase on the Lazada platform. Is this a disadvantage? Not necessarily. As with eWallets in general, the best one for you is the one that you’ll use most often.
If you purchase very frequently on Lazada for personal or business purposes, using Lazada eWallet means you not only enjoy faster, hassle-free checkouts, but also get to reap more rebates as and when offered by Lazada.
Core strengths: Faster checkout at Lazada
Notable features: Top up at 7-11 outlets, receive refunds directly into your Lazada eWallet
Number of merchants: Lazada platform only
Not a Lazada fan? Prefer Shopee instead? ShopeePay is the exact equivalent of Lazada eWallet but for the Shopee platform.
The same premise applies – faster checkout, easy refunds and more rebates. Users won’t have to go through the process of having to log in to their online banking portal and waiting for the one-time password (OTP).
Core strengths: Faster checkout at Shopee
Notable features: Receive refunds directly into your ShopeePay
Number of merchants: Shopee platform only
Head to Head: Comparing the top eWallets in Malaysia (for consumers)
Which eWallet should I use?
The best eWallet for the frequent flyer
BigPay. As mentioned, BigPay is the no-brainer choice if you have to travel often, be it for work or leisure.
With the physical BigPay card, you can withdraw at any ATM globally for a fee of RM10.00. Merchant-wise, BigPay is accepted wherever Mastercard is accepted.
Since the eWallet is a product of AirAsia, you can also expect plenty of savings there too. For every RM10 spent with BigPay, you earn 1 BIG Point, which can then be redeemed for discounted flights on airasiabig.com According to BigPay’s FAQ page, you can also:
- Save up to RM32 in processing fees when you buy AirAsia flights
- Get discounts on pre-booked check-in luggage and meals
- Have exclusive access to AirAsia sales and more!
The best eWallet for the utilities-heavy family
Touch ‘n Go eWallet. TNG eWallet is the only eWallet which can be used to pay for your TNB bills through 7-11. Aside from PBA and SADA, this e-Wallet also supports all other water suppliers.
For all your hefty grocery bills, you’d be glad to know that you can use your TNG eWallet to pay at 12 different grocery chains nationwide from Mydin to Jaya Grocer. Full list here.
The best eWallet for the long distance driver
Setel and Touch ‘n Go eWallet. For obvious reasons, these two eWallets are the most sensible choices for someone who’s often bound to the seat of their car.
For all the petrol you consume, there’s Setel to help you save time when the queue gets long and claim more Mesra points (1 point for every 1 litre of petrol, to be exact).
We’re also going to make a guess and assume that you often buy water, snacks and other refreshments while stopping to pump petrol. If so, make sure to pay with Setel to enjoy an extra Mesra point for every RM1 spent at accepted Kedai Mesra.
The Touch ‘n Go eWallet also makes all the long drives that much easier as you won’t have to make the extra effort to tambah nilai at the toll.
The best eWallet for the savings-savvy
Boost. Boost is by and large the best all-rounder eWallet. In particular, it wins us over with how rewarding it is.
Cashback, vouchers, promos, Shake rewards…Boost users get the most bang for their buck. The sheer variety of rewards and ways to redeem them makes spending with Boost feel like every penny spent was absolutely worth it.
The best eWallet for the shopaholic
GrabPay. Whether you shop online or in-store, GrabPay is accepted at most fashion merchants nationwide from Zalora to FashionValet. While Boost is also accepted at many of the same stores, GrabPay seems to be more ubiquitous within the Klang Valley.
That said, avid Lazada shoppers may find Touch ‘n Go eWallet to be the better choice, as it’s the only eWallet accepted on the platform (apart from Lazada’s own, which provides no exciting rewards or cashback). Shopee on the other hand, only accepts their own eWallet. In the end, it all boils down to where you shop most often.
The best eWallet for the foodie
Boost. While this eWallet might not boast the most number of touchpoints as compared to MAE or GoPayz, the overall experience is a much more rewarding one.
At present, MAE provides no rewards or cashback, and you won’t find much promotions here either (though it’s rumored that Maybank will be cooking up something soon in this area). GoPayz may be acceptable at merchants who accept UnionPay, VISA and Mastercard – but this rules out many smaller restaurants.
Boost on the other hand, doesn’t overlook our local food scene. The eWallet is accepted at most foodie hotspots and even at certain pasar malams and hawker stalls.
We’re starting to sound like a broken record here, but once more – the best eWallet is the one that you’ll get the most use out of.
But if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s how much we love a good deal. Whichever eWallet you’re using, check out our comparison page where we list out all the eWallet deals in Malaysia so you can get double the savings!
And for more useful eWallet guides and resources, our eWallet 101 series has everything you need to know about eWallets in Malaysia and more.
Got a favourite? Vote for your preferred eWallet below!
Get your opinion heard! Let us know which is your favourite eWallet in Malaysia in this poll, or comment your experience with any of the aforementioned eWallets in the comments section below.