Going cashless is a big deal, at least for me. I’m personally waiting for the day when all I need to bring along with me is my smartphone for all my daily needs. The proliferation of e-wallets and digital payment systems give us a clue that the cashless future isn’t too far away. We only need to look at a city like Hangzhou in China, to see that going cashless is indeed possible.
But what about now? Can we go entirely cashless today in Malaysia?
To find out if I’d survive, I recently took up the challenge by Boost to go cashless for 24 hours. Armed with just my smartphone, I had to go about my day as per usual, only without carrying a physical wallet with a wad of cash.
Before that, let me just say that I’m no stranger to digital payments. Given the many players in the market today (too many, IMHO), it’s almost impossible to not have and use at least one.
Personally, I use a combination of Boost, GrabPay, Touch ‘n Go, KiplePark, Samsung Pay, and BigPay on a regular basis. There are dormant ones in my phone too like vcash, RazerPay and KiplePay.
So, yes, we’re not short of options.
As a primer for Boost, the “mobile lifestyle wallet” made a debut in January 2017, and initially its sole purpose was to enable prepaid users to top up their mobile credit.
Of course, it’s now so much bigger and better. Today, it’s a full-fledged e-wallet that lets you pay for anything from shopping, game credits, dining, digital subscriptions, mobile top ups (naturally), utility bills and even parking. It also lets you send money to other Boost users and use the “Go Dutch” feature to split bills.
Last year, Boost also introduced a way to buy digital vouchers from leading brands at great discounts. Everything from game credits from Steam; to e-commerce platforms like 11street and Lazada; to F&B brands like myBurgerLab; digital subscriptions like Spotify.
What’s great about Boost is its “Shake Reward.” All you need to do is shake your phone after you’ve made a transaction and you’ll receive a random cash amount in your e-wallet. It can be as low as MYR0.50 or as high as MYR5. Pray that Lady Luck is on your side, why don’t you?
Boost also allows you to donate to select charities including Tabung Harapan Malaysia.
Over a year on, it is now the leading homegrown e-wallet with over 3.4 million users and has over 25,000 merchant touchpoints both online and offline.
Ultimately, for a cashless system to work, there needs to be viable business and use cases, a wide network of merchant partners, and users.
My Boosted day
There are a couple of things I love about Boost. I love that I can pay my utility bills and get instant cash back. So, the first thing I do is fire up the app and pay my U Mobile and TM unifi bills. I do the same with my monthly Syabas water bill. It sure beats having to pay over the counter or even via online banking, because I do get some form of cash back to my Boost wallet.
Bills paid, I head to Bangsar in the late morning for a meeting and to do some work on-the-go. So, I get myself parked at Jalan Telawi. All I needed to do was fire up the Boost app and select Parking. Having added my car registration details earlier, all I needed to do was make sure that the location of the parking was correct i.e. “Bangsar” then select the duration.
No need to look for a parking meter and scramble for change. Best thing ever. And if it gets close to expiry, you can easily extend the duration via the app.
So, VCR is where I go to, actually one of the first places in Bangsar that supported Boost. I go there often for coffee and work.
Two hours later, with meeting and work done, I had to run off to Mid Valley to pick up a couple of review products. Unfortunately, no Boost support for parking at shopping complexes yet, but true to the cashless spirit, I used my Touch ‘n Go card, as I usually do.
I’d really like to see Boost support with parking, perhaps through a partnership with Touch ‘n’ Go and parking concessionaires or even independently, in the future.
I glanced at my watch and it was already 4PM. No wonder my tummy was growling. Haven’t had lunch yet, I thought. I screened the app for F&B options and I was recommended Madam Kwan’s. Not a bad idea, I said to myself.
I may have overindulged a little so to make myself feel a little “healthier” I give La Juiceria a visit to pick up a bottle of Goodness Green, my favourite cold-pressed juice.
That done, I made my way back home.
The little shopping mall adjacent to where I stay had a row of Rest n Go massage chairs. I noticed them before but not with Boost stickers. Curious, I went to try. There was a 50% cash back offer, so why not right? All work and no rubs makes Jack a dull boy, is that how it works?
All loosened up and feeling like tofu, I head back home.
I remembered that I need to send out a parcel to a Carousell buyer. One of my favourite courier/delivery services currently is EasyParcel, with competitive rates and good service. The icing on the cake is the support for Boost. I used my Boost credits to pay for the courier service, with a pickup scheduled for the next day.
- Easy and fast
- Wide range of supported merchants
- Easy credit top-ups
- Cash back
- Availability can still be improved further
- No presence at parking lots
I believe my typical day will be wholly different from yours. And experience as well as mileage with Boost may vary. That said, going cashless is entirely possible if you can be creative and wiggle your way around things. At this point, there are still some “holes” in terms of availability and type of services that support Boost. However, it’s a great start and I’m pretty confident it will get even better in time.
Boost is available for free from Google Play and the App Store. Use code ver8my2 to get up to MYR5 cash back when you make your first prepaid credit top up. Visit www.myboost.com.my for more information.
Disclaimer: Boost credited MYR100 for me to test out the service. Opinions are entirely my own.
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