Spending money online can be a real minefield without proper safeguards

Spending money online can be a real minefield without proper safeguards

New research shows Malaysian respondents are susceptible to hidden fees and unfair charges when travelling, making purchases overseas, and transferring funds

NEW research from global financial tech company Wise, through its ‘Don’t Kena Con’ campaign paints a colourful picture on four ‘money personas’ used to categorise the different types of shoppers in Malaysia.

Half of Malaysians polled are avid shoppers, or ‘Shopping Pros’ (49%), while budgeting geniuses ‘Financial Controllers’ are 38%. Hidden fee finders ‘Aunty Powers’ make up 12% of those surveyed, with value driven ‘Kopitiam Uncles’ representing a mere 1% of respondents.

Shopping Pros are defined as professional shoppers (obviously), who know how and when to spot all the best deals and sales. Financial Controllers are the ones in charge of managing the money in the family so that bills are paid on time, with an emphasis on convenience and efficiency.

The Wise’s Don’t Kena Con campaign, determined the majority of Malaysians still have much to learn from Aunty Powers and Kopitiam Uncles on understanding hidden fees and markups while undertaking shopping adventures.

An Aunty Power looks past a good deal that sounds too good to be true. They read all the terms and conditions before making the leap. A Kopitiam Uncle scours the web for a good value above all else, never style, always substance.

More than one-third (37%) of Malaysian respondents who shop online and spend overseas note they have no idea what the fees and exchange rates are until the transaction is complete. On the plus side, Malaysians show off an impressive understanding of currency exchange, with 60% reporting they know what the mid-market rate is.

(The mid-market rate is the midpoint between the buy and sell prices of any two currencies. As the buy and sell rates are based on the constantly changing demand for and supply of a currency, the mid-market rate is constantly changing too.)

Wise Malaysia country manager Lim Paik Wan. – Pic courtesy of Wise

“As international e-commerce and shopping continues to grow in popularity across the country, Malaysians need solutions that will help them navigate hidden fees and provide an easier way to make international purchases.

“We know from our research that transparency and convenience are paramount to Malaysian consumers, which is why we’re proud to offer our multi-currency account and card to anyone who needs a better solution for their spending needs,” said Lim Paik Wan, Malaysia country manager, Wise.

More than half (52%) of all Malaysian respondents have the impression that fintech platforms give the best rates when it comes to foreign exchange, although 38% chose money changers.

This may be to their detriment, as half (50%) of Malaysians surveyed want to know if the remittance provider charges a receiving fee or the exchange rate used when receiving money from overseas. Plus, close to a quarter of respondents (24%) said having the lowest service fee was the second most important thing they expect from a remittance provider.

Many Malaysians still have a lot to learn when it comes to understanding hidden fees, and it’s clear that transparency in fees is something consumers are increasingly looking for. An earlier independent research commissioned by Wise found that Malaysians spent RM10.5 billion in total card fees when shopping overseas from 2015 to 2020 and RM1.5 billion was paid in transaction fees and hidden exchange rate markups yearly when shopping overseas.

When it comes to shopping overseas, the Shopping Pros show a strong preference for digital payment methods. Malaysians surveyed choose to use their credit card (39%), followed by debit cards (22%), multi-currency cards (20%) and cash (20%). Two-thirds (69%) are aware when it comes to shopping in a foreign currency with their credit card, they pay more than just currency conversion fees.

Financial Controllers are still looking to keep budgets intact and spending on track, as 28% of shoppers noted that whether they are paying the lowest fees is the most important factor of consideration when spending on an international site, and 55% want to know the total cost of the purchase in ringgit.

Importantly, to feel more secure when spending money overseas, Malaysian respondents say they want to know they are protected from fraud (40%), the total amount they have spent (37%), and the exact fees they have to pay (15%).

source – The Vibes


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