A Doable Plan
In Malaysia, the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has been pushing this transition for quite some time already and it looks like its gaining steam.
Local finance journal FinTechNews reports BNM’s long-term goal in improving Malaysia’s cashless system, which it expects to achieve by the year 2020.
One of the immediate steps BNM is taking since launching the initiative includes increasing the country’s number of e-payment transactions made per person in Malaysia. From the initial 44 transactions, it has now grown to 200 transactions.
The central bank is also working on cutting down the use of cheques from more than 200 million to 100 million per year.
Measures being taken by the Malaysian government to reach these include creating more e-payment infrastructures that could facilitate businesses and individuals in making the transition. This is done by providing point-of-sale terminals in almost every establishment around the country, as well as promoting the use of mobile phone banking.
A Foreseeable Cashless Future?
The intentions behind the policy are agreeably good. However, the question remains: are Malaysians ready for the shift?
The answer, as indicated in the Nielsen statistics, suggests that a majority of Malaysians still prefer paying in cash, especially when making their everyday expenses. One of the reasons why people are still apprehensive on this scheme has something to do with issues of security and fraud.
According to the Nielsen report, awareness on the use of mobile wallets is quite widespread but people are also quite hesitant for the possibility of overspending.
With the continuous encouragement from the government plus the support of local vendors who are now accepting digital transactions, changing the payment landscape of Malaysia is extremely doable, if not possible in the nearest future.