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CIMB enables e-wallet payments at credit card terminals

My biggest problem with the cashless ecosystem in Malaysia is that we have way too many wallets with not enough merchants supporting them all. That means, if you even want to get some semblance of that cashless life, you’ll need to maintain multiple wallets at the same time and that’s a pain in the butt.

But, at the same time, I think the fact that this industry is so competitive is a good thing for consumers because I strongly believe that competition drives innovation and that’s the fastest way to push us forward. So, how do we solve one problem without creating another?

Off the top of my head, the most obvious way would be to have a single unified QR code that you can scan and pay with whichever mobile wallet you want. Though, that may not be the only way, as CIMB demonstrates.

We’ve seen the single unified QR code approach before. Singapore broke new grown when they introduced the SGQR (Singapore Quick Response Code). This one code allows you to pay with any of the 27 supported e-payment solutions ranging from GrabPay to Alipay, which in theory is an awesome solution to the too-many-e-wallets conundrum.

However, as awesome as it is, it isn’t the only solution available. Early this week, local bank CIMB introduced something they’re calling the Quick Response Payment Acceptance that will be supported at the bank’s terminals.

If that term sounds a little foreign to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. When I first read about it from the multitude of reports by our local media, I didn’t really understand what this whole system was either. At first, I thought it was similar to Singapore’s SGQR where CIMB has a single unified QR code that you could scan and pay with any wallet you desired, but then the fact that they’re calling it a terminal didn’t make sense. You wouldn’t call a simple QR sticker a terminal right?

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Following that, I reached out to CIMB for some clarification and here’s what they told me.

Firstly, it’s not a single unified QR code/sticker, nor is it a newfangled payment terminal like the one AliPay uses. When they say terminal, they’re actually referring to CIMB’s card acceptance electronic data capture (EDC) terminals — basically it’s the CIMB credit card terminals.

That means, this QR payment acceptance system doesn’t work the way you normally think QR-based e-wallet payment systems work. You don’t scan the shop’s QR code, enter the amount you owe, and pay. Instead, you will need to generate your own QR code with your mobile wallet app for the merchant to scan.

Currently, CIMB’s QR Payment Acceptance system works with six different mobile wallets: Touch & Go Digital, Boost, KiplePay, Mcash, Vcash, and Alipay.

As a concept, this kind of works, though I do feel like having the user scan a QR code with their phone is more convenient. But I can also see how this system could be very unappealing to smaller mom-and-pop shops and sidewalk gerais compared to something like Maybank’s QRPay.

This is because in order to use this QR acceptance system, you will need to invest in a CIMB credit card terminal (which CIMB says will be available for a “nominal rental rate”) and, according to CIMB, a dedicated QR code scanner too. On top of that, merchants will be subject to the Merchant Discount Rate where applicable as well.

That means, this will likely only be attractive to large companies that already have an existing infrastructure of card terminals, and want to accept QR-code payments without needing to faff about with the installation of yet another payment system. And that’s evident from the current QR Payment Acceptance clientele which includes NSK, House of Leather, and Super Seven.

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Of course, in the future, CIMB plans to expand this further to include merchants like Tesco, Boost Juice, Maslee, Sunshine, and Pakaian Hari Hari, but those aren’t small shops either. Additionally, CIMB says that they are also planning to expand mobile wallet support to include other wallets like GrabPay, though they didn’t give me an exact timeline on when this would happen.

I’ll be the first to admit that when I saw reports about CIMB’s new QR Payment Acceptance that worked with multiple e-wallets, I thought someone in Malaysia was finally introducing a way to unify all our mobile wallets. Then when I dug a little deeper, I was a little disappointed at the reality of the situation.

But, that doesn’t mean what CIMB is doing is a bad thing. Yes, their system doesn’t look like it will become the one QR to rule them all, but the fact is that this seems like a really simple way to get legacy systems to accept this new form of cashless transactions. And I think that’s a good thing.

What’s more, with this system, payments will be made directly to the merchant’s current account. That means they don’t need to have separate accounts with each mobile wallet, nor will they need to clutter their storefront with a thousand different signs and QR code stickers for each e-wallet.

Of course, those are my thoughts on the matter. What do you guys think of CIMB’s QR payment acceptance solution? Let me know in the comments below.