The global Covid-19 pandemic was unprecedented and threw the world into one of history’s most challenging times. One of the biggest impacts worldwide was to the economy which had to take a back seat as healthcare professionals across the globe scrambled to keep the deadly virus at bay. We’ve been lucky, here in Malaysia, as the decisive measures immediately taken at the time COVID-19 cases were beginning to surge were critical in helping us as a nation to flatten the infection curve.
With infection numbers now coming under control since the start of the outbreak, we welcome the Government’s recent move to introduce the PENJANA short-term National Economic Recovery Plan which include measures that will drive us towards the economic recovery of Malaysia.
Boost is looking forward to playing our role in supporting PENJANA and all the initiatives announced by the Prime Minister. We are particularly excited to lend our industry expertise in initiatives such as the proposed ePENJANA e-wallet stimulus, Shop Malaysia Online initiative and the MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) E-commerce Campaign.
The Government’s ePENJANA stimulus initiative, which runs from July until September, will greatly drive the adoption of e-wallets as a safer and exceedingly convenient method of payment for consumers compared to cash. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) statement encouraging people to use contactless payment methods like e-wallets and limit the use of banknotes because they could spread bacteria and viruses, helped further highlight e-wallets as a safe and secure payment method.
Through ePENJANA, eligible Malaysians will receive RM50 each which is expected to encourage strong domestic consumption to spur the local economy.
Today, e-wallets like Boost can be used conveniently across the country to pay for a wide range of products and services both online and offline. Big retails brands that accept payments through Boost have outlets peppered over every populated corner of the country which makes them accessible for all Malaysians to use their e-wallets to replace cash in the long run.
But we Malaysians don’t exclusively shop at big retail stores – many of us frequent pasar malams and bazaars where we buy our favourite treats and meals from traditionally cash merchants. This landscape is changing with many of these small and micro businesses adopting e-wallet payments. Today, over 60% of Boost’s more than 165,000 merchants are from the small and micro-enterprise categories.
The growing digital adoption opens up a wide variety of choices for all types of consumers to spend their individual RM50 allocation received through ePENJANA.
Supporting local merchants
The Government’s e-wallet stimulus will certainly spur domestic spending for local merchants which not only spreads prosperity throughout our economy but will also catalyse higher adoption of digital payments amongst businesses.
Not leaving out micro-businesses and fresh food producers, the Government is introducing the MSME E-Commerce Campaign from June to September. This is a crucial move intended to encourage e-commerce adoption by MSMEs.
During the MSME E-Commerce Campaign period, eligible MSMEs will be taken on a digitalisation journey that includes training, subsidies and sales support. Once digitalised, these businesses will not only sell their products further and wider, but they will find that, through digitalisation, they will have an easy way to track their business and glean data-driven insights into consumer trends. Ultimately, it allows entrepreneurs to make smarter business decisions in growing their enterprises and become more robust.
A timely new feature that we launched recently, called the ‘Boost Payment Link’, is an example of how e-wallet players can help some of the most heavily impacted micro-businesses get back on their feet.
Boost Payment Link makes it easy for small business owners to receive payments remotely without the need for customers to scan a QR code. The new feature lets merchants easily send their customers a link via any messaging app such as email, SMS or WhatsApp to receive payments.
This now allows traditional cash-based businesses to receive orders and payments online upfront before delivering their goods or services. It is effective for all types of retail businesses but would typically be useful for F&B as well as small grocery or convenience stores where customers are becoming more accustomed to ordering online and expecting home delivery services from the merchant.
For local retailers who have an existing e-commerce footprint, the Government will be introducing the Shop Malaysia Online initiative which kicks off in August until September. This initiative is expected to boost online spending on products from local retailers by incentivising consumers with discount vouchers. Many Malaysians, being the bargain hunters we are, will certainly look to capitalise on this opportunity.
As a homegrown brand built in Malaysia, by Malaysians, for Malaysians, we have a vested interest to ensure all Malaysians, especially the under-served, have equal opportunity and access to financial systems and services by leveraging on Boost as a tool for economic empowerment.
We believe the PENJANA short-term National Economic Recovery Plan has given us an important role as a digital financial services provider to contribute towards the nation’s digital economy aspirations and develop its ecosystem.
We are excited by the initiatives identified by the Government towards uplifting all segments of society and addressing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We look forward to playing our part in building a cashless community and providing access to digital payments and financial services, which will contribute towards accelerating economic recovery and building a stronger, more resilient Malaysia.