Alternative Payment Methods Compatible in Both Singapore and Malaysia

As we transition into the endemic phase of COVID, travelers from Singapore and Malaysia have once again begun traveling across the border. Learn more about how APMs are paving the way for cross-border transactions.

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With the reopening of the Singapore-Malaysia border, families and tourists have begun making their way across the causeway.

Besides food, the myriad of locales, and close proximity, the Singaporean dollar's strength relative to the ringgit is another reason why Malaysia is a favorite destination for Singaporean tourists. And that's terrific news for businesses operating in Singapore and Malaysia alike.

Furthermore, with Malaysia and Singapore being the top users of e-wallets in APAC, businesses have an excellent opportunity to open up new payment channels.

You can also learn more about top APM platforms in the Asia Pacific here.

Explore these article sections:

Why Businesses Need to Start Accepting APMs
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1. COVID Health Concerns

While most countries have transitioned to the endemic phase of COVID, consumers still remain wary of the virus, and Singapore is no exception.

For example, 84% of Singaporean customers reported that COVID has caused them to switch to contactless payments. And in that same study, another 45% of respondents revealed that they would not shop at an outlet that doesn't support contactless payment methods.

All of which goes to show that customer health concerns should be taken into consideration by businesses.

2. Convenience

Besides enabling zero contact payments, e-wallets are a fast and easy way for customers to pay for their purchases.

Users only have to scan the merchant's QR code or display the one generated by their e-wallets, and they're done. Hence, reducing customer anxiety and wait times while ensuring a smooth checkout process.

3. Additional Payment Channels

Providing extra payment channels is key to maintaining customer satisfaction. Keep in mind that research has shown that a lack of payment methods has led to frustrated customers and a loss of revenue.

And this is especially true if a merchant caters to tourists and overseas customers, which makes it all the more important to support alternative payment methods.

And this is why we've put together a selection of the top alternative payment methods (APM) usable in both Singapore and Malaysia.

Top Alternative Payment Methods (APMs) Usable in Singapore and Malaysia
1. Touch 'n Go eWallet
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Singaporeans who regularly travel to Malaysia would probably be familiar with Touch n' Go, or TNG as it's more commonly known. It is a smart card used to pay for tolls on Malaysian highways and parking at some shopping malls.

TNG also exists in the form of the EZ-Link x Touch' n Go Motoring Card, a dual-currency smart card usable on both Malaysian and Singaporean Highways. Since then, TNG has also expanded into the financial services sector with the Touch' n Go eWallet.

Backed by Alipay, this e-wallet is one of Malaysia's most popular alternative payment methods. Supported by MNCs, SMEs, and even micro enterprises, it's next to impossible to find a business that doesn't support TNG eWallet.

With PayDirect, users can link their TNG card to their TNG e-wallet and top up their card balance via e-wallet. They never have to worry about getting stuck at a toll or having their cards go dormant.

You only need a Singaporean mobile number to register for Touch' n Go's e-wallet.

2. CIMB Bank Instant Transfer
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CIMB Bank is the second-largest commercial bank in Malaysia, with more than 8 million customers and branches in Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Did you know that if you have a CIMB FastSaver account in Singapore, you have the option to link it with a CIMB Malaysia account?

Once that's done, you can instantly transfer funds from Singapore to Malaysia with zero charges at the best exchange rates. From here, you can withdraw funds in MYR or make payments using Malaysia's DuitNow payments system.

Note: account linkage can take up to 3 days to be completed.
3. GrabPay
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A name familiar to both Malaysians and Singaporeans, Grab's super app allows users to order food, hail rides, and even go shopping. Now with the introduction of GrabPay, this Malaysian tech giant is expanding into the financial services sector.

GrabPay is compatible in Singapore and Malaysia, so users can walk right across the causeway and start using its services immediately.

This e-wallet comes with a points system that rewards users the more they use it. The accumulated points can then be converted into Grab vouchers for discounts.

Unfortunately, GrabPay is mainly present in the urban parts of Malaysia. So, it may be difficult to find merchants who accept GrabPay in more secluded areas.

4. DuitNow / PayNow
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In late 2021, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the linkage of the DuitNow and PayNow national payments systems.

This means that Singaporeans visiting Malaysia will be able to scan DuitNow QR codes to make payments, just as they would with PayNow. And the same would also apply to Malaysians in Singapore. However, this collaboration will only go live during the 4th quarter of 2022.

5. FavePay
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FavePay is a mobile wallet provided by the fintech platform Fave, and it allows users to earn cashback with every purchase.

Additionally, FavePay also offers a BNPL plan known as FavePay Later, which splits repayments over 3 equal instalments. This option is available at more than 40,000 retail outlets in Singapore and Malaysia.

Closing Thoughts

E-wallets and other alternative payment methods allow businesses to cater to customers' needs from around the world — something fundamental in today's economic climate. Companies can tap into new and exciting growth opportunities by facilitating cross-border transactions and opening up new payment channels for customers.

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