Survey: E-Payment Preference Rose during Covid-19 Pandemic but Cash Still King

This article was originally published on Yahoo News on February 24, 2021

KUALA LUMPUR, 24 February 2021 – Netizen eXperience recently conducted a survey which found an encouraging number of Malaysians moving towards e-wallet and debit card transactions, especially since the enforcement of the Movement Control Orders (MCO).

“We recently carried out a survey on more than 1,000 Malaysians between the age of 18 and over 65. Most people still prefer cash transactions – especially before the enforcement of MCO,” said Netizen eXperience User Experience Consultant, Alvin Chai.

NX User Experience Consultant, Alvin Chai.

The key factors that contribute to this are Malaysians’ concerns over security and privacy issues, and the possibility to overspend with cashless payment methods, added Chai.

Netizen eXperience (NX) recognises that the user experience (UX) and user interface will need more focus on alleviating these concerns and the company believes it is equipped with the expertise.

“Post MCOs, e-wallets and debit cards are becoming fast favourites and the main reasons are because of contactless payments and convenience,” he said, adding that the shift was a step in the right direction with the buzz of digital banking licensing in Malaysia.

The survey also found the use of cashless payment methods being more prevalent in those aged between 18 and 54, compared to those aged 55 and above.

However, the study also found that most Malaysians (29.3 per cent) still prefer to use cash as a payment option due to its accessibility in stores and under the assumption that it is easier to control spending.

Cash surpassed e-wallets (28.6 per cent) and debit cards (27.4 per cent). Preference for credit cards was just 9.5 per cent, ahead of QR payments (2.2 per cent) and bank transfers (3.0 per cent).

The NX study echoed a survey published by Visa Consumer Payments Study last year that found that 62 per cent of Malaysians supportive of the country becoming a cashless society and 62 per cent believe it can be achieved within the next five years.

In the Budget 2020 tabling, Malaysian Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz announced that Bank Negara Malaysia was in the midst of finalising the licensing framework for digital banks and the central bank plans to issue up to five digital bank licences.

“As user experience researchers, we see Malaysia’s e-wallet players leaning towards digital banking but the more traditional financial institutions – banks and insurance firms – are a little hesitant. Change can be a little difficult but NX wants to assure them that we are here to make the progression easier, while being completely customer centric.

Mercedes-Benz USA President and Chief Executive Officer, Steve Cannon is quoted as saying: “Customer experience better be at the top of your list when it comes to priorities in your organisation. Customer experience is the new marketing.”

Recognising this importance, NX comes into play with its purpose and aspiration to improve UX by building user-centric products through innovative tools and emphasising human-centred approaches.

“We work from end to end for our clients when our services are engaged, and we stand out because our development process begins with designing the UX. We make it our mission to build something that can enhance the experience of the customer using it,” said Chai.

The research and strategy consulting firm in Asia was set up in 2011 and specialises in all things digital – development of mobile apps, launching digital features for its clients and even building websites. However, what drives NX’s operations most is its key-strength in being able to track digital behaviour of consumers and carry out data analytics following a digital-product launch.

Recent survey conducted by Netizen eXperience shows the preferred payment method of Malaysian during the enforcement of the Movement Control Orders (MCO).

“We leverage our user research, user testing, UX design, digital analytics and optimisation as well as web development skills to help our clients maintain and even draw customers,” Chai added.

Chai explains that NX’s software engineering focuses on providing cloud-based solutions. “This means our planning and architecture process caters for the developed application to run in the cloud and makes it easily scalable,” he added.

“NX follows a consumer’s journey while he or she uses the digital product, and we work towards understanding your users’ needs so we can improve the design of your product and achieve the full potential of what it can and is supposed to do,” Chai explains.

NX is a user experience consulting firm that provides user research, analytics and technology solutions for digital transformation.

Since its establishment, NX has gained an extensive number of corporate clients, including listed companies. A majority of them are involved in financial services, the likes of banking and insurance firms, and healthcare. The company has been actively providing analytics and UX consultancy services to enterprises in the Asia Pacific region while also conducting cross-border studies with partners from the US, Europe and Japan.

With Contactless Payments on the Rise, there is a Need for Better UX

This article was originally published on Vulcan Post on March 12, 2021

More and more businesses and their services are migrating online during the pandemic for survivability. But with the move likely being a rushed one, UX (user experience) is not on the forefronts of their minds.

They just need to show customers their products, and customers should already be making purchases, right? Well, not quite.

Alvin Chai, UX Consultant at consulting firm Netizen eXperience (NX), told Vulcan Post that some of the biggest UX problems that companies (old and new) still face today are:

  • Focusing too much on the look and feel but not the usability of the interface, i.e., how easy it is for a user to complete a task on their website/app;
  • Developing their website/app/software based on their business requirements without validating their design with real users through usability tests;
  • Not interviewing their users to understand what their unmet needs are, which could uncover new business opportunities.

But what’s the cost of having bad UX?

A Painful Price To Pay

When bad UX is not fixed, Alvin said it leads to more support and training costs so target users know how to use your digital service, and you’ll have wasted or lower ROI on marketing.

Alvin Chai, UX Consultant / Image Credit: Netizen eXperience

Even if you get a large volume of traffic to your site, you’d see a lowered sales conversion rate because people simply don’t know how to navigate it.

This then increases the need for redevelopment or rework. Alvin shared, “Programmers typically spend 50% of their time on avoidable rework, and the cost of fixing errors after development can be 100x more than before development.”

Ultimately, your bad UX will mean reduced user satisfaction and retention, and users would be less likely to recommend your product/service through word of mouth.

One case in example Alvin noted was an American e-commerce site that made new customers register before they could checkout, which caused friction.

Once they took away that feature, the number of customer purchases went up by 45% and the site saw an additional US$300 million in sales that year.

Cashless Payments Can Be Much Better

At this point in time, Alvin and his team have pinpointed an area that they think needs lots of help with UX: cashless payments.

Cashless and contactless payments are on the rise, but so are privacy and security concerns surrounding them, a survey by NX found.

A local example Alvin shared was how Malaysians often receive call and text messages from frauds disguised as official accounts of brands like BigPay, for example.

“This would affect the confidence of the e-wallet’s security. Another fear is having unauthorised transactions or abuse of their accounts. Users can also be wary about how their transaction history, location data and spending habits would be used to profile them,” he said.

And while better UI can improve some of these issues, others will require more scrutiny and actual changes in the UX process.

“For cases of fraud, it will be difficult to implement change in UI since the fraudulent activities are being carried out by unknown parties.”

“One of the best ways to support your users when a fraud happens is to provide easy-to-find guides and hotline numbers that they can call to seek help,” Alvin explained.

The experience of how your company assists a customer in distress will go a long way in building trust and customer loyalty.

Alvin Chai, User Experience Consultant at Netizen eXperience

Another way good UX can be implemented is by giving users the option of hiding or tapping to show their private information on their screens so their data is protected from prying eyes.

Some e-wallet providers have also begun offering money-back guarantees to ease the fear of unauthorised transactions.

Eyeing What’s On The Horizon

When it comes to digital innovation, NX’s consultants like Alvin team up with clients to help them understand their target users through UX methodologies which include user research, user testing, user behaviour tracking, and more.

A UX consultation in session at one of their labs / Image Credit: Netizen eXperience

“We also conduct strategy workshops for client stakeholders to find a balance between business needs and user needs when developing digital products/services,” he said.

“Amidst the pandemic, for 2021, we’re still expecting a healthy double digit YoY revenue growth for our work in the finance related sector.”

A few challenges they’re excited to take on soon is with digital banking and in healthcare sectors too.

For digital banking, Alvin said, “Ultimately, everything that can happen at a physical branch level can happen in digital form too, e.g., loan application, account registration, remittance, insurance, investment, and more. All these need to be well researched and designed in order to support online self-service.”

“Apart from that, we also see healthcare sectors benefitting from delivering better digital experiences, from digital vaccination passports and telehealth to remote elderly health monitoring.”

NX will continue to expand the scale of their remote UX services to serve different markets in the region, especially for their clients who are expanding beyond Malaysia.