Migrants constitute 15% of Malaysia's population, making the country home to the fourth-largest number of migrants in the Pacific East Asian region. The migrant population is diverse, made up of, among many other countries, workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Vietnam, China and India.

E-wallets are becoming highly common in Malaysia, with Bank Negara having given out over 40 e-wallet licenses so far. Mobile-based digital payments are cropping up at almost every retail store, F&B shops, supermarkets, and even fruit stalls along the roadside as Malaysia heads towards becoming a cashless nation by the end of 2021!

Definition of 'E-wallets'

E-wallet is a type of electronic card that is used via a computer or a smartphone for transactions made online. Its design is similar to a credit or debit card. To make payments, an E-wallet needs to be connected to the bank account of the user.

E-wallet is a type of pre-paid account in which for any future online transaction a user can store his or her money. With a password, an e-wallet is secured. One can make payments for food, online orders, and flight tickets, among others with the aid of an E-wallet.

The e-wallet consists mainly of two sections, software and data. The data part of the program stores personal information and offers protection and data encryption. The information part is a user information database that includes their name, shipping address, payment method, amount to be paid, credit or debit card details, etc.

Promotes financial inclusion

Instapay Technologies has collaborated with Mastercard to launch an e-wallet for the migrant worker community in Malaysia that comes with a connected Mastercard prepaid card and remittance services.

More specifically, for the unbanked migrant worker segment, Instapay also supports financial inclusion. With Mastercard now collaborating with the e-wallet, its users can connect a worldwide network of retailers and ATMs. This means that migrant workers who have previously been unable to open a bank account can now easily pay Mastercard merchants for their transactions and make cash withdrawals with Instapay.

The e-wallet also comes packed with many facilities to meet the other financial needs of the staff. These include international remittances, P2P transfers, smartphone top-ups, and retail and online transactions with cashless/QR payments.

Beneficial to employers

The extensive use of e-wallets by the population of migrant workers is intended to offer benefits to both them and their employers. It helps workers to use automated payroll management technologies, reduce their dependency on cash handling, decrease costs and minimize downtime when their employees no longer need to line up on paydays.

The e-wallet is designed to help companies that hire blue-collar employees digitalize their payroll management process, according to Instapay. Employers would be able to gain from increased protection, convenience and productivity when they can digitally pay their international employees salaries via the e-wallet rather than in cash. The e-wallet helps employers to digitize migrant workers' wage payments, which decreases the expense and risk of handling cash.


It is said that EWages is a government initiative to tackle and resolve common issues relating to the jobs of foreign workers in Malaysia. The system of e-wages would require foreign workers legally employed to register with their employers. This in turn will allow data to be obtained for monitoring and tracking foreign workers and will assist in the presence and presence of illegal foreign workers.

The salaries are paid into the e-wallet of registered workers, which guarantees no shortchanges and no conflicts, and the system will be able to incorporate remittance instruction to their home country by the employees. The scheme can be used to buy their everyday necessities, including mobile prepaid top-ups, for lawful deductions, including medical check-ups or periodic testing and interface with eHealth initiatives such as telemedicine.

International remittances

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected foreign remittances badly. As a result of the crisis triggered by the pandemic, global remittances are expected to decline by 20% in 2020. This downturn is considered to be the sharpest in recent times. The main factor behind this decrease is the drop in migrant workers' salaries.

In millions of lower and middle-class families in developing countries, cross-border payments have played a crucial role in uplifting poverty. They also increased their income from nutrition. The remittance fund is also related to increased education investment and a decrease in child labour practices.

Apart from migrant workers and their families, the latest pandemic has also badly affected remittance service providers. When there are unpredictable exchange rates and unexpected flows, handling liquidity becomes hard for remittance service providers. The capacity of the service provider to maintain its activities is also directly impacted by remote working along with forced closures.

Owing to commitments on face-to-face customer authentication and the lack of digital infrastructure in the industry, remittance service providers are struggling to onboard their customers towards digital platforms. Introducing and normalizing e-wallets into the norm of remittance would do wonders for countries with multinational workers like Malaysia. There are even Global Wallets to help workers send money back home.

Additionally, factors such as inadequate financial knowledge, lack of identity papers, digital literacy, and access to digital technology among migrants and their families mean that when the formal channel declines, there may be increased reliability and dependency on informal remittance networks. Increased digital financial inclusion rates will prove to be an efficient way of mitigating this and continuing flows in the formal networks.

The e-wallet also provides a remittance feature that is necessary for migrant workers who are sending money back to their loved ones every month. This is achieved through a collaboration with IME-Ria Money under BNM, a licensed remittance and money changer.

EVOLET is a digital wallet app for migrant workers.

Learn more at https://evolet.io/