Mobile transactions: What are Malaysian consumers worried about?

In an increasingly connected world where news, retail shopping, banking and entertainment are all available 24/7 on a variety of mobile devices, fear of missing out (FOMO) is a legitimate phenomenon. Nearly two thirds of Malaysian respondents also agreed that face-to-face interactions are being replaced with electronic ones (65%), but that might not be a problem as more than half (52%) say they prefer texting to talking anyway.

According to the new Nielsen Mobile Shopping, Banking and Payment Report, 55% of Malaysian consumers say they feel anxious when their mobile devices are not close at hand. At least three in five say they can’t imagine life without mobile devices (58%), and about three quarters say their mobile device makes their life better (76%).

While they are comfortable with searching for information on their mobiles, payment is still a concern.

Malaysian shoppers think that their mobile devices are indispensable shopping buddies used to look up product information (64%), compare prices (60%), look for coupons or deals (51%), make better shopping decisions (50%) and to make their shopping trips quicker or more efficient (41%). When it comes to making payment using a connected mobile devices, about half of the respondents are highly or somewhat likely to use mobile payments in bars, restaurants and retail stores (52%).

But about three quarters of Malaysians are equally concerned about security when it comes to mobile payment (72%).

Nonetheless, about one third of Malaysians say they purchased a product or service on their mobile device in the past six months (34%). The global average of consumers purchasing a product or service on their mobile device in the last six months is 38% while 34% have done so via a mobile app.

Nevertheless, about two thirds are willing to make or increase the number of mobile payment if security features are enhanced (68%).

Other factors which would encourage Malaysian consumers to increase the number of mobile payment via their connected mobile device include availability of incentives, loyalty or rewards specifically for mobile payment users (55%) and speedier check-out compared to traditional payment methods (45%).

Besides using their mobile devices to buy the usual movie tickets, flight tickets or hotel stays (35%), a fraction of Malaysian consumers are also using their mobile devices as part of their fintech (financial technology) experience. Other top uses of the mobile device include social media (78%), accessing emails (73%), viewing YouTube (63%), checking a bank account balance or a recent transaction (53%) and playing free games (52%).

“Mobile devices such as smartphones have now become an integral part of our lives and using them as an omni channel, reference point has become the norm. Checking on products whilst in-store is becoming the standard and brands and retailers still need to embrace this phenomena but in the meantime, the way we pay for products and services is going through a step change that consumers will learn to love,” said Richard Hall, country manager of Nielsen Malaysia.

While mobile devices have transformed the way we communicate and stay connected with each other, it is also revolutionising the world of retail and banking. Growth in access to cashless payments is estimated to lead to US$10 trillion in additional consumer spending over the next decade, according to The Demand Institute, jointly operated by Nielsen and The Conference Board

Mobile banking a growing trend?

The majority of Malaysians (83%) are comfortable about using their mobile device to check their bank account balance or recent transaction in the next six months. Some of their mobile banking activities include transferring money between bank accounts (75%), paying bills online (77%), receiving (74%) or transferring (71%) money from/to another person.

Although nearly all Malaysians are open to the idea of mobile banking, at least three quarters still have reservations about conducting certain banking (74%) activities via their mobile devices in the next six months as security remains a key concern.

Top 5 Reasons Why Malaysians Not Doing Mobile Banking

Other key reasons which inhibits Malaysians from conducting certain banking activities via their mobile devices in the next six months includes a small device screen (29%), preference to visit physical bank branch for banking needs (29%) and lack of access to a stable Internet connection (15%).

The survey also revealed that on average less than a third of Southeast Asian consumers are highly likely to use a mobile-only bank (no physical locations and all interactions are serviced through a mobile app). Only one in five Malaysian consumers is highly likely to use such as a service (21%) if made available.

However, at least two in five Malaysians are highly likely to use a mobile-only bank if the service provider offered discounts on lifestyles activities, such as booking entertainment tickets or purchasing movie tickets (44%), higher deposit interest rates (43%) and lower or no fees on purchase of investment products (42%).

In general, Malaysian consumers would like to see cheque scanning and deposit technology (51%), ability to communicate with the bank via social media (39%) as well as facial recognition (38%) and voice recognition (38%) features be developed as part of the mobile banking apps of the future.