Digi and Mastercard Working Together on Digital Payments Card for Launch Early 2019by Ellia Pikri January 3, 2019
Digi, with Mastercard serving as the technology partner will offer a digital prepaid card—to be released for public use sometime in the first half of the year. The card is also developed with ManagePay (MPay).
According to a press release, the digital card was designed for online shopping where customers can sign-up, activate and use the card all within a single mobile app. The goal is to provide an intuitive, end-to-end digital experience that is more secure.
The announcement is a tad lax on details; but is likely that they will model the digital app after Mastercard’s upcoming Happy prepaid card. Online shoppers or those that sign up for online subscription services could provide their Happy card details instead of giving these websites access to their primary credit card information.
The idea is that users would protect their actual card information, and the prepaid nature of the platform would ensure that users do not end up spending more money than they have.
Mastercard’s country manager in Malaysia, Perry Ong opines that it is essential to meet the needs of the unbanked populations in Malaysia, implying that the digital card could help solve that issue for the unbanked segment. His assertion hints to the possibility of cash topups, and the logical conclusion is that this will doable in Digi’s physical kiosks—though of course this is all just conjecture.
Debit card ownership in Malaysia has a relatively high 74% penetration, though only 21% of Malaysia’s population owns a credit card. The lower numbers could owe to strict credit card issuing standards, but it is also likely that Malaysians are reticent about getting a credit card in fear of spending more than they actually have.
Allowing Malaysians to tap into the global Mastercard network while also eschewing the cumbersome physical card when online shopping could be the more convenient solution that caters to an increasingly online lifestyle, though it will remain to be seen if this will be enough for the product to gain traction.
However, we are curious as to why Digi did not launch this service as an extension of their existing wallet, vcash. Air Asia’s BigPay was launched with Mastercard too, and it is also an e-wallet.
Praveen Rajan, Digi’s CEO said:
“We have observed that the majority of e-commerce transactions still occur with cash. We want to play our part in assisting people to go cashless, and more importantly, offer them the convenience to do what they want on their devices.”
MPay Group’s Dato’ Chjew Chee Seng further elaborates on the retailer side of this equation.
“Our focus will be to acquire retailers and e-tailers to provide them the ability to accept digital card payments and unlock the benefits of going cashless. This includes having access to a suite of merchant tools for improved customer retention, which will translate into a more engaging and efficient in-app cashless experience for card holders.”