14th January 2022 - 3 min read
The latest Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study, conducted by payment service provider Visa, has revealed that a growing number of Malaysians are able to live without using cash for more than a week. Specifically, 55% of the study’s Malaysian respondents in 2021 have indicated that they can do so, as compared to 42% in 2020.
Carried out in September 2021 across eight Southeast Asian countries, with a sample size of 7,500 individuals – with 1,000 Malaysian respondents – the study also reiterated the nation’s shifting preference from cash to digital payments due to Covid-19. Of the total Malaysian respondents, 74% of them attempted to adopt a cashless lifestyle in 2021, and 50% of those who had never tried going cashless said that they are confident in living their daily lives without cash for up to a week.
Additionally, 28% of Malaysians said that they are not likely to use cash after the pandemic, indicating a lasting change in habit. This also is in line with a notable growth in cashless payment adoption, especially QR payments (60%), e-wallets (54%), and contactless cards (51%). Consumers typically opt for these cashless payment options for expenses such as bill payments, supermarket and retail shopping, purchases at convenience stores, as well as food and dining.
Moreover, consumers are showing increasing preference to shop with merchants that accept cashless payment options instead of cash-only options. There is also a growing interest in other cashless innovations, including self-service checkouts (64%), automated app payments (64%), and biometric payments (60%).
The study further indicated that Malaysians see numerous benefits in developing a cashless society, with 58% of them agreeing that it will curb the spread of Covid-19. Meanwhile, 54% said that cashless payments provide users with the ability to track financial records easily, and 52% agreed that it lowered the risk of theft. Another 52% said that cashless payments offer a hassle-free experience by eliminating the need to queue at banks.
Despite that, many respondents also opined that it will still take some time before Malaysia becomes a cashless society, although the pandemic has hastened the process. At the current rate, they expect Malaysia to become a cashless society by 2025, as compared to 2028 if the pandemic had not happened.
The country manager of Visa Malaysia, Ng Kong Boon, commented that Covid-19 has truly caused a significant change in the way people work and live, including their payment preferences. “The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and how Malaysians choose to pay and be paid. At Visa, we are following the change in consumer behaviour closely. From the insights we have gathered from the study over the years, the shift towards using more digital payments in Malaysia are here to stay,” he said.
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