Can Thailand’s TrueMoney remittance capabilities give it an edge in Malaysia’s crowded e-wallet industry?
When it comes to the e-wallet industry, the Southeast Asian region probably has the most e-wallet users apart from China. Over the years, the number of e-wallet players in the region has grown tremendously. While some players could not cope with the competition, others were able to expand their offerings, with a few eventually becoming super apps as well.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to faster adoption of e-wallets in the region as well. A Juniper Research study from 2021 showed that the number of e-wallet users in the region to grow by 311% from 2020 to almost 440 million users by 2025. Currently, Indonesia has the most number of e-wallet users, followed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.
Interestingly, Thailand also recorded the third position globally for real-time electronic payment transactions in 2022, after India and China. Malaysia has 43 e-wallet providers, making it the country with one of the most e-wallet companies in the region as well.
As e-wallet adoption grows, their operators are also looking at how they can maximize its usage across the region. One way of doing that is through integrating seamless cross-border payment capabilities. For example, a user would only need one e-wallet which can be used across the region. Currently, there are a few e-wallets that are already enabling such features. This includes the TouchNGo e-wallet through its partners in the region as well as the GrabPay e-wallet.
One e-wallet brand that is looking to make an impact in the region is Thailand’s TrueMoney. A fintech brand providing e-payment services in Southeast Asia, TrueMoney is part of Ascend Group and the Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group), Thailand’s largest private company.
TrueMoney’s e-wallet currently operates in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines. Using its own technology, one of the unique offerings of the TrueMoney e-wallet is its remittance service which has cross-border remittance capabilities between certain countries it operates in.
As the e-wallet industry grows in the region, TrueMoney recently launched its services in Malaysia, the seventh country it operates in in the region. Currently, the e-wallet is the official payment provider for Lotus’s outlets nationwide, which is also part of the CP Group. For now, TrueMoney in Malaysia is just a basic e-wallet and only supports QR payments with TrueMoney merchants.
“We are not in Malaysia to compete with existing e-wallets. We are very different from all the other e-wallets in Malaysia. The top five e-wallets here are predominantly Malaysian brands. We are here as the expansion to our seventh country. We want to complete our payment ecosystem and also enable cross-border payments within the money and infrastructure that the region presents. That’s the main reason why TrueMoney is in Malaysia,” said Jessie Chong, Ascend Group’s Country Managing Director.
For Chong, despite competition from Malaysian e-wallet providers, the main agenda is to grow in the country and be an effective e-wallet in the future. The only way of achieving this is to be widely accepted by its users. Jessie also explained that the company is aware of how some users might not be convinced given the current capabilities of TrueMoney.
“Just like any other e-wallet, when you launch, it takes time for you to enable as many payments location as possible and to work with as many merchants and retailers, both online and offline. It’s not a one-press button for stuff to happen. It’s a process. It requires relationship development, and it requires people negotiating as well with the merchants. The same can be said when other local e-wallets started way back. Users were not able to make payments in every location at the beginning stage. But the goal for us is to be an effective e-wallet down the road. We have to be complete and widely accepted in every location. Then only we can be an effective e-wallet for the users,” added Chong.
While it’s still early days for TrueMoney in Malaysia, the e-wallet is already a hit in Thailand and Cambodia. The app’s cross-border payment and remittance capabilities for example are popular among migrant workers in the region. Currently, the remittance service is still not available in Malaysia but Chong did mention there are plans to implement such capabilities within the app in the future.
For now, TrueMoney’s capabilities in Malaysia are just like any other basic e-wallet. Without sharing many details, Chong did highlight that users can look forward to more features that are already available in the Thai version of the app being implemented in the Malaysian app in the future as well.
“We are coming in humbly, and trying not to make much noise and get the wrong attention at the wrong time. That’s really what we don’t want to do. We just want to be sure that our services and our application make sense to the users,” concluded Chong.