Why I'm not a fan of ewallets
Ewallets are the flavour-of-the-month. Everyone from Touch’n’Go and Petronas to Grab’s doing them. And why shouldn’t they? They’ve nothing to lose, it’s all upside. No business would turn down free money for which they might not even have to provide a service.
Obviously, I’m not a fan. Mainly it’s the fact that they’re basically duplicating a function of banks, but worse. They can barely do transfers and payments. The only thing they do is probably sell your data. Plus, my card is accepted in many more places and is easier and safer.
Here are some concrete reasons.
They’re not regulated
It’s one thing to not be heavy-handed and not regulate ridesharing or bicycle rentals and entirely another to not do so when it has to do with money and livelyhood.
They promote lock-in
I hate services that promote lock-in. Ewallets don’t allow transfers to others and aren’t compatible between each other. They also, to my knowledge, don’t allow you to withdraw your balance or make it exceedingly difficult to do so. For Grab you have to fill up a form and it’s on a “case by case” basis, whatever that means. Imagine if you were to go to your bank and ask to withdraw cash so they had you fill up a form and told you that they’d get back to you on a case by case basis. Boost, you have to be a premium user and pay a fee.
Some can transfer between users, but this it’s ridiculous to consider this a benefit of any sort. Online banking has been around for at least a decade and in Malaysia it works quite well.
They aren’t insured
If they get hacked, given their TOS you’re probably out of luck. What’s there preventing you from losing your money in case of an oBike situation.
They don’t pay interest
I mean, it is minor, but that’s still free money for them.
They’re just customer acquisition tactics
They aren’t useful in and of themselves and the providers are just trying to give away money to get the user’s payment details and personal information for the follow up game at which point the discounts disappear. (Just like they did for Grab once Uber left)
With all that said, the one thing that I do appreciate about them is that they’re pushing banks to be more innovative and do similar things. An app that functions similar to them but is provided by a bank with an actual account would be great.
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