KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 6): Malaysia saw 233.6 million electronic money (e-money) transactions worth RM5 billion in November last year, according to data provided by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM). This is the highest monthly figure since 2016.
Cumulatively, 1.87 billion e-money transactions were recorded from January to November last year, amounting to RM45.2 billion.
This comes as no surprise as Malaysians have plenty of options when choosing their e-wallet platforms.
BNM’s latest data showed that the Central Bank has issued 47 non-bank e-money issuer licenses.
Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Dr Afzanizam Abd Rashid said society has become more cashless when it comes to transacting their normal business.
“The convenience it offers, better security and of course, bonus points are the possible reasons why going cashless does make sense to some of us,” he said when contacted by The Edge.
Meanwhile, based on BNM’s data, over the years, other methods of payment — such as credit cards and debit cards — witnessed a gradual increase in usage among the consumers as well.
In the first 11 months of 2021 alone, a total of 657.28 million debit card transactions worth RM69.55 billion were registered, making it the highest ever recorded in
more than 10 years.
“Perhaps it is a generational issue as the e-wallet may seem somewhat complicated to the older generation.
“Debit cards may seem to be a default setting for cashless payments since all ATM cards will come with such features,” Afzanizam added.
Credit card usage on the other hand is not that far off from the pre-Covid-19 level.
In 2019, before the coronavirus outbreak, Malaysia saw the highest credit card volume transactions in more than a decade with 510.12 million transactions done, worth RM143.79 billion.
In comparison, a total of 498.27 million transactions worth RM122.83 billion were recorded in the first 11 months of last year.
This is 1.83% higher than the 489.31 million credit card transactions, worth RM127 billion, reported in 2020.
Afzanizam said that based on gross domestic product (GDP) data, private consumption has been growing at a minimal rate of 1.2% for the first nine months of 2021 versus the 4.6% contraction in the same period in 2020.
“So there has been improvement in consumer spending although it is still at an early stage as the country gradually reopens,” he said.