Digital Vs. Covid-19: Easing Into eWallets!


Remember the time you used to walk into a bank, take a number and then wait to be served? Yes, I know that was just last month and thus hard to feel nostalgic about. Nonetheless, the switch has been flipped with social distancing during Covid-19 – and will probably stay flipped for the foreseeable future, forcing a reconsideration of any resistance to digital tech. With physical notes being the last choice in these ‘go-contactless’ times, it is inevitable people will go for cashless transactions and online banking.  ‘Wait, there is a difference?’, you ask?

Source: MDEC files

As the MCO is extended to May 12th, concerns about making certain payments on time or availing certain services are crucial. Paying your phone bill, withdrawing your EPF, buying insurance or the mundane duty of buying your weekly groceries, especially considering the expected change in shopping priorities and habits during the fasting month - all fall back on online payments.  These payments may need your eWallet to be linked to your bank account or credit card.

What’s The eWallet For Me?

There is no silver bullet, but here are some options you could start exploring online, in no particular order. The point is, the more sophisticated in services, the easier to use and the wider the array of services, the more likely that an eWallet is appealing.


This is for you if you say, “I want food, groceries, to hail a ride, to buy insurance, to clean and fix.”

Besides the delivery and payment options, this eWallet had announced that, GrabMart is available in Penang, Johor Baru, Melaka, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Ipoh. To boost businesses during the MCO period, Grab is also offering free delivery, 30 per cent off GrabFood Signatures, and 50 per cent off GrabMart’s health essentials. They also shared that they will charge 0% commissions on all digital payments made via Whatsapp, Facebook, and phone orders and launched a waitless, cashless (just pay with GrabPay via the app), besides a contactless ‘self-pickup’ option. The move saves customers’ time while helping them avoid crowds.

On the business side, Grab’s Small-Biz Relief program provides financial relief up to RM 3,000 to each GrabFood small businesses in the form of rebate for every order. Brands like Grab now cut across eWallet and mobile wallet service categories, combining both into a single app. Their services include package delivery services, e-hailing, and food delivery.


This is for you if you say, “I want to feel secure and informed above all else”.

This e-wallet released a list of guidelines for users to guard against scammers as well as sellers who take advantage of product shortages by increasing prices, especially with sanitisers and face masks.

Guidelines listed include:

• Reading the product description and reviews from other buyers carefully;

• Using the in-app Shopee Live Chat to verify information;

• Ensuring all transactions take place within its platform to ensure protection under Shopee Guarantee Policy.


This is for you if you say, “I want cashbacks, gaming credits, pay bills and to give e-gifts”.

Why Boost made on this list is because it offers free life insurance with special Covid-19 coverage for all users. An RM1000 payout to families which have lost a member to Covid-19 and a special RM5,000 coverage upon diagnosis of Covid-19. In addition, Boost has set up a Tabung Covid-19 which collects funds for those directly and indirectly affected by the current situation.


Many more eWallets exist in the market and each is as worthy of further exploration as the ones named above. Check out Lazada Wallet, WeChat Pay, Touch N Go, Fave and Big Pay and many more. The time is ripe to begin using eWallet options, especially over the next few weeks.

Current times are testimony to the fact that the digital economy is here to stay – made more so by #socialdistancing and #StayAtHome. Regionally too, the financial industry has expressed a belief that the pandemic will catalyse mobile-first banking, reducing people walking into local bank branches.

And who knows? We could possibly be the last generation to see the inside of a bank!



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