If you traveled to China in recent years, it’s hard not to be wowed by how pervasive e-payment is in the world’s most populous country. Most of my Chinese friends travel around without even carrying a wallet or any cash. Yet they are able to go shopping, pay for their meals, commute on public transport and perform all sorts of micro-transactions using just the e-wallet on their mobile phones.
The Singapore government has a vision to move Singapore towards cashless nation powered by digital payment, but adoption rate has been slow here due to various factors such as the easy availability of cash due to our strong network of ATMs; consumer culture; and too many different players in the payment market that is making it hard for merchants to decide which ones to stake their bets on.
As such, Singapore still has a lot to learn from China in terms of e-payment and moving towards a true cashless society.
One of the most popular e-wallet service in China is WeChat Pay and WeChat launched WeChat Pay MY in Malaysia last year in August, making Malaysia the first country outside of China to have the WeChat Pay integrated into the country’s payment eco-system.
In Singapore, while there are points where WeChat Pay users from China can make payments, WeChat Pay is not integrated with the Singapore banking system and we are unable to easily sign up and transact using Singapore dollar like our counterparts in Malaysia who can transact with ease in Malaysian ringgit with WeChat Pay MY.
Earlier this week, WeChat Pay MY held a launch event in Kuala Lumpur, announcing plans to expand WeChat Pay merchant base in Malaysia.
In Malaysia, WeChat Pay MY supports various types of value-added services from online services such as mobile credit top-ups as well as flight and bus ticket purchases, to offline transactions at retail outlets. Currently, a WeChat Pay MY user can purchase items at retail stores by just scanning a QR code and punching in his payment PIN on his mobile phone.
“Malaysia is one of the standout emerging markets that has quickly adopted to mobile payments. Our mission is to facilitate the development of the Malaysian digital economy by introducing local users and businesses with a simple, secure and convenient mobile payment experience. We believe that with enhanced public awareness, engagements and exposure, we will be able to play a role in leading Malaysian’s digital ecosystem into the next level,” shared Poshu Yeung, Vice President of International Business Group at Tencent, the parent company of WeChat.
“We are currently working on expanding our merchant base to include more outlets similar to KK Mart and Starbucks. This will sequentially give users more opportunities to use WeChat Pay MY for easier and more seamless payment transactions,” added Jason Siew, CEO of WeChat Pay MY.
To demonstrate WeChat Pay MY’s resolve to lead the way in the digital payment arena, WeChat Pay MY put together its first showcase of how it intends to encourage adoption and usage of mobile payments in the near future at the launch event.
An experience zone, simulating various innovative payment service experiences at a convenience store, a food and beverage outlet, a petrol station, and even a regular roadside vendor stall, presented how WeChat Pay MY can be applied to users’ daily lives.
More advanced services were also presented during the event. WeChat Pay MY unveiled a fully digitised vending machine to guests where payments can be made via WeChat Pay MY instead of sorting through small notes or coins to purchase an item.
The highlight for the showcase would probably be the mini-kiosk set up to demonstrate WeChat Pay MY’s plan to enable users to purchase petrol. The mini-kiosk demonstrates a smart solution where users can select a petrol station, key in the amount of fuel that they would like to purchase and once they arrive at the kiosk, a camera will detect the car plate number to activate the pump. Users can then fill their tanks immediately and be on their way in no time. No more nonsense like the ‘petrol fuel ten’ saga in Singapore whereby a driver was accused of ‘cheating’ an elderly pump attendant to pay for his full tank petrol!
Another new service will soon be available in mamak restaurants around the Klang Valley is the online ordering service that allows users to order their choice of food and beverage through WeChat Pay MY and make payment instantly. This service provides regular mamak goers a smoother way of ordering and paying for food without having to wait for a waiter to take their orders or queue up to pay for their bill.
There was also a ‘kuih-muih’ stall fashioned to show potential merchants at the event just how easy it is to conduct transactions using WeChat Pay MY, as plans are already underway to get local ‘pasar-malam’ or roadside stall vendors to adopt the payment solution.
Moving forward, WeChat Pay MY envisions a convenient and rewarding lifestyle for both its users and merchants and will continue to leverage its payment platform’s experience, technologies, and abilities to offer users an excellent mobile payment experience to ease everyone’s daily life.