Which E-wallet App Do Malaysians Use Frequently?

Jeremy Chew

Research in Partnership with App Annie Intelligence to Discover the Most Used Semi-Closed & Open E-wallet Apps in the Malaysian Digital Mobile Payment Market

According to data, Grab, Touch n’ Go eWallet, Boost, and Fave are Malaysia’s most actively used mobile e-wallets in the past 2 years. This was recently found in a research conducted by App Annie Intelligence, a trusted mobile data and analytics platform, together with iPrice Group, an information aggregator platform in Southeast Asia.

In support of the country’s vision to be a cashless nation as seen in the recent Budget 2020 announcement, this research was conducted to analyse the most important e-wallet trends in Malaysia. Here are the key findings of our study.

Grab, the Most Actively Used App, Q3 2019

GrabPay officially launched its e-wallet in Q3 2018 and according to data, the Grab app leads as the most actively used app in our research. However, unlike other mobile apps in this list, Grab is considered as a super-app, integrating its ride-hailing, food, delivery, and other featured all under a single application.

Although unable to reveal the exact number of active users, Ooi Huey Tyng, the managing director of GrabPay (Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore), stated in a report that 1 in 5 GrabPay users accesses the app daily, either for transport, food, parcel delivery or offline in-store payments.

Nevertheless, Grab’s mobile payment feature plays a big role in helping Malaysia become a cashless nation. This is evident as GrabPay was recently awarded as the best e-wallet app in the country at the Malaysian e-Payments Excellence Awards 2019. According to Grab’s press statement, the award recognises GrabPay’s sustainable ecosystem and rapid growth in the digital payments arena and contribution to push Malaysians to adopt cashless payments.

Touch n’ Go eWallet Quickly Rising Through the Ranks

The Touch n’ Go eWallet is amongst the fastest growing mobile payment apps in the country. The mobile app ranked in 4th position when it was launched in Q2 2018 and quickly rose to become the 2nd most used e-wallet app in Malaysia as of Q3 2018 according to data by App Annie. In a public statement by TNG Digital Sdn Bhd, the e-wallet app currently has more than 5 million registered users and has over 100,000 merchants on its platform.

Directly commenting on its rapid growth & performance in this study, Ignatius Ong, Chief Executive Officer of TNG Digital Sdn Bhd said “Well for a start, Touch ‘n Go eWallet is the No. 1 most used e-wallet in Malaysia and we intend to keep that position in perpetuity. Our key catalysts (to our success) are our unique features across tolls, our Money Back Guarantee Policy, growing merchant base, and more”

One of its successful initiatives is the free RFID fitment PayDirect campaign, where more than 100,000 drivers signed up for the feature. Additionally, TNG Digital announced in October 2019 that the Touch ‘n Go eWallet can be used as a payment option on Chinese e-commerce websites TaoBao and Tmall. Concurrently Ant Financial, an affiliated company of the Alibaba Group, is a joint-venture partner at TNG Digital Sdn Bhd.

Fave, One of the Pioneers in the E-payment Arena

Fave remains as a prominent player in the e-payment arena, ranking as the 4th most actively used in our study. However, unlike other apps, FavePay does not classify themselves as an e-wallet exclusively, differentiating themselves from others as a payment aggregator which allows users to use credit, debit cards or e-wallets on its app.

According to a report in August 2019, Fave began its Series C funding round and currently has 4 million customers on its network, which shows its big potential to become a super-app in the Southeast Asian region. FavePay is actively used in Singapore as well, ranking as the 3rd most active used e-wallet in the city-state.

Compared to other e-wallets, Fave is one of the key pioneers in the digital payment market. The company was first established as KFit, a gym subscription service and was subsequently evolved into Fave after acquiring Groupon Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia back in 2017.

Boost a Prominent E-wallet App in the Past 2 Years

Backed by Axiata Group Berhad, Boost was launched since 2017 and has consistently remained as one of the most prominent e-wallets in Malaysia. The e-wallet currently ranks at 3rd place in monthly active users and total downloads in Malaysia, Q3 2019. According to its website, Boost has more than 61,500 merchant partners and over 3.5 million users.

Outlook on Malaysia’s E-wallet Sector

With a high internet penetration rate at 80% and smartphone penetration at 63%, the outlook for digital payments and e-wallets is certainly bright entering into the year 2020 and beyond. Supporting this statement, a market report by JP Morgan stated that “The use of cash is expected to be overtaken by digital wallets by 2021”

Commenting on the outlook of the e-wallet sector for year 2020 and beyond, CEO of TNG Digital, Ignatius Ong said “Bank Negara released its Financial Sector Blueprint 2011-2020, which charts the direction of the financial system over the next ten years to increase the number of e-payment transactions per capita from 44 transactions to 200 transactions, and to reduce cheques by more than half from 207 million to 100 million per year. This is the right direction Malaysia should be heading to ensure as a nation, we are charging forward for greater economic efficiency.


Research Categorisation Methodology

Mobile E-Wallet apps were identified by iPrice and App Annie from multiple categories on the iOS App Store and Google Play where wallet functions are offered, including but not limited to Finance, Travel, Food and Drink and Lifestyle. Our analysis is limited to open and semi-closed mobile e-wallets or e-payments applications. All e-wallets or e-payment apps chosen for this study acts as a digital wallet, assisting users make payments via QR code, card-based and/or bank transactions via the app in exchange for in-store goods or services. For a fair comparison between the apps, this research excludes pre-installed apps, telecommunications-based, rewards, customer loyalty, messaging, money transfer and other closed-loop e-wallets/e-payment applications. Closed-loop e-wallets/e-payments are exclusive issuance by a company for its customers to be used at a merchant's store.

About App Annie

App Annie is the industry's most trusted mobile data and analytics platform. App Annie's mission to help customers create winning mobile experiences and achieve excellence. The company created the mobile app data market and is committed to delivering the industry’s most complete mobile performance offering. More than 1,100 enterprise clients and 1 million registered users across the globe and spanning all industries rely on App Annie as the standard to revolutionize their mobile business. The company is headquartered in San Francisco with 12 offices worldwide.

About iPrice Group

iPrice Group is a meta-search website operating in seven countries across Southeast Asia namely; Malaysia Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. Currently, iPrice compares and catalogues more than 90 million products and receives about 20 million monthly visits across the region. iPrice currently operates three business lines: price comparison for electronics and health & beauty; product discovery for fashion and home & living; and coupons across all verticals.

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