Penang "long way to go" before going fully cashless

Last update: 27/01/2020

By Goh Kok Guan

GEORGE TOWN, Jan 27 -- Housewife Lee Bee Cheng, 55, had to go to more than three different wet markets in Penang to make a cashless transaction after receiving RM30 in e-wallet balance but still could not find a single stall owner who accepted e-wallet payments.

She said when she asked the stall owners if they would accept e-wallet payment anytime soon, she was told that it was unnecessary or too complicated for them to understand.

"Most of those I talked to were elderly and have been working in the wet markets for a very long time," Lee told Bernama.

From Jan 3, the Penang government will begin to enable e-wallet transactions throughout the state by March this year, in line with the Federal government’s e-Tunai Rakyat programme,  held between Jan 15 to March 14 this year, to encourage the seamless use of cashless payments among Malaysians.

33-year-old banker Andy Lim said that he was attracted by the promotions and discount offers introduced by the e-wallet companies.

He said that he currently has four different e-wallet apps and would use them for any discounts or promotions when he eats out, calls for e-hailing services, or while shopping at hypermarkets.

"As of now, I don’t think I will go so far as go about my daily routine without cash or (credit) card. I still use either cash or card as a back-up in case the e-wallet service is down or my device runs out of battery or there is no Internet service.

"Maybe a year or two down the road, I will be comfortable going fully cashless,” he said.

Meanwhile, food court hawker, Nickson Poh Chuan Kheng, 32, said that the cashless option has made it convenient to manage and track cashless transactions made during working hours.

He said that his business had grown ever since Touch ‘n Go e-wallet introduced the Chinese New Year promotion, where there would be a RM5-cashback for purchases of RM10 and above of food and Chinese New Year-related items via the Touch ‘n Go e-wallet.

"I noticed that most of the customers who used the e-wallet to make purchases are youngsters. Those who are older still use cash, despite the rebate promotion," he said.