PETALING JAYA – A consumer rights organisation has voiced doubt that Malaysians will start embracing e-wallets in droves any time soon, saying current income levels are among the stumbling blocks.

“Not many are able to park money in e-wallet accounts when people are already complaining about the increasing cost of living,” said Malaysian Consumers Movement president Darshan Singh Dillon in a comment on the government’s move to promote the use of the facility.

Speaking to FMT, he said the government nevertheless deserved praise for allocating RM450 million for a scheme under which every new e-wallet subscriber earning an annual income of less than RM100,000 is given RM30 as a one-time stimulus.

He said the government was “doing the right thing“ in trying to transform Malaysia into a cashless society.

“But we need to improve income levels first.”

He also spoke of concerns over security as a factor that might prevent consumers from using e-wallets.

Cybersecurity needed to be tightened up, he said. “You must make sure data security is there. A lot of scams are happening and the scammers are obtaining information from leaked data.”

Convenience could be an issue as well, he said, noting that it is much easier to make contactless payments through credit or debit cards.

“PayWave, for example, lets me use what’s in my bank directly. I don’t need to go to another app, scan codes and key in a PIN. Just touch and I’m done.”

Darshan said e-wallet providers would need to keep on enticing people with promotions and incentives to ensure continuous use.

”I use my e-wallet app to pay my internet bill, and it has some bonuses for that,” he said. “But that’s about it.

“The RM30 stimulus may help get more people get into e-wallets, but what will happen after that is anyone’s guess.”

He said he wouldn’t be surprised to see many people abandoning the use of e-wallets after using up the RM30.