grab executives posing for a photo during the launch of grabpay in malaysia

Grab is rolling out GrabPay in Malaysia. How would it stack up against the others? Source: Tech Wire Asia

Is there really a need for another mobile wallet in Malaysia?

THERE is no shortage of mobile wallets in Malaysia. According to the central bank Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), there are currently 35 non-bank e-money issuers in the country.

Adding to the list is GrabPay. Southeast Asia’s ride hailer Grab has been aggressively expanding its services after kicking rival Uber out of the region. After launching GrabFood just over a month ago, it has now launched GrabPay in Malaysia.

The mobile wallet will be competing against local mobile wallets Boost and Touch ‘n Go, as well as China’s preferred payments platform AliPay and WeChat Pay.

Both Chinese payment systems entered the Malaysian market to facilitate easier payment for Chinese tourists, although the service is available for locals.

Despite huge presence across big and small merchants across the country, the Malaysian public is still slow in adopting mobile payments. According to BNM, currently, more than 80 percent of transactions in Malaysia are still made in cash.

Grab first rolled out its mobile wallet first in Singapore last November. They started with over 1000 merchants and now have over 4000 merchants on the GrabPay platform.

In Malaysia, Grab is starting off with 500 merchants, with aims to double that number by the end of this year.

During a press conference, Ooi Huey Tyng, Managing Director of GrabPay Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines said: “Merchants would want to work with us to grow their revenue, as there is instant access to a large user base.”

Grab believes they have a market advantage – 50 percent of the population already have the GrabApp. GrabPay wallet is an additional function within the app and does not require additional downloads. Currently, it offers QR code top-up and payments, as well as peer to peer (P2P) transfer.

It is also working with Maybank to allow users to pay at Maybank merchants; as well as let users pay the ticket for KLIA Ekspres, a train service direct to the country’s main international airport.

However, Grab’s offering isn’t unique. Its rival in the payments space, Malaysian company Boost too has a similar offering and has already gained some momentum in the market.

By functionality, Boost seems to hold an advantage over GrabPay. It offers vouchers, e-gifting, bill splitting, and in-app shopping, on top of the payment functions found on Grab.

Another rival, is Malaysia’s most widely used cashless prepaid card, Touch ‘n Go.

Recently, Touch ‘n Go also rolled out a mobile wallet by the same name. It features similar QR payment and P2P functions, with additional bill payments and QR code scanning for public transit.

Going by features alone, none of the mobile wallets are leading the market at the moment.

Ooi commented, “I don’t see the competition being another payment wallet at this point, I see it being cash. Cash is a very stubborn habit. The key is for us to ensure we reduce the pain point for consumers.”

The Malaysian market has enough payment wallets, with varying functionality. It will soon whittle down to one dominate wallet.

The final winner will be the one who can streamline payments and offer convenience in the true sense.