An interview with Ignatius Ong, CEO of TNG Digital Sdn Bhd
For years, the term “cashless transaction” was flouted around like as if it was the latest buzzword at a marketing agency, and while you might argue that the world was going cashless anyway, the coronavirus pandemic has certainly sped things up.
From being an easier, hassle-free way to pay for some people, cashless transactions have become a means of keeping the corona at bay for all, and fair enough; who knows where Ringgit notes have been before it reaches your fingertips, right?
At the forefront of the cashless transaction revolution is Touch ‘n Go eWallet. Having started its journey back in 2017, the Touch ‘n Go eWallet has grown from strength to strength even in spite of the global pandemic and government implemented MCO.
I had first met Ignatius Ong, the CEO of TNG Digital Sdn Bhd back in 2019 at an event commemorating the company’s partnership with KidZania. Back then, he had his sights firmly set on penetrating into the mom and pop stores that make up the majority of local businesses. Fast forward to corona plagued 2020, and that resolve hasn’t changed.
With Covid-19 effecting everyones lives, the first thing I asked Ong was how the pandemic had changed things at TNG Digital Sdn Bhd. It turns out the answer is not much. If anything, social distancing has helped promote a cashless lifestyle and the company has actually had to intensify its pursuit towards elevating the economy through digitisation.
98.5% of the business establishments in Malaysia are SMEs
This essentially makes them the backbone of our community. TNG Digital Sdn Bhd recognises that and kickstarted 2020 by converting Penang into a cashless city including the numerous local popular food hawkers.
This was quickly followed by transforming Pasar Besar Seremban into a Touch ‘n Go eWallet enabled commonplace. Even with the MCO, the company is still continuously onboarding more SMEs unto it’s virtual Ramadan bazaar.
Speaking to Ong about whether or not the Covid-19 pandemic put a dent in their momentum, the eccentric CEO was bullish. “Now, we are continuously onboarding more SMEs on our virtual Ramadan bazaar whom we believe will continue to stay with us even post Hari Raya.” he said. “Moving forward, we will continue advocating for the habitual usage of contactless payment through Touch ‘n Go eWallet.” added Ong.
People are using the Touch ‘n Go eWallet now more than ever. The MCO and CMCO is providing a chance for Malaysians to really break out from old habits of using cash and switching to Touch ‘n Go eWallet to make payment for everyday things.
Ignatius Ong, CEO of TNG Digital Sdn Bhd
With the Touch ‘n Go eWallet covering a wide spectrum of touchpoints, the company has actually seen an increase in the merchants onboarding onto its payment platform ever since MCO was implemented and more so with Ramadan being observed in a different manner this year.
Ramadan 184.108.40.206 with #lebihbanyakekstra
Speaking of Ramadan, Touch ‘n Go eWallet really hit the spot with their aptly titled “Ramadan 220.127.116.11 with #lebihbanyakekstra” (the full stops represent social distancing) campaign this year.
The unique campaign provided Malaysians with an outlet to relive their Raya experiences of yesteryear by partnering up with food delivery services, offering e-vouchers for users and creating a directory listing of the best Ramadan vendors in town.
By partnering up with the likes of Beepit, DeliverEat, Go Eat, Hungry and Wonderfly, as well as creating the directory list of vendors, users were treated to a wider variety of Raya themed dishes. The beauty of all this is that it was exactly what the rakyat needed.
On top of that, SMEs onboarded by the Touch ‘n Go eWallet now have a platform to share their offerings to 10 million people. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!
As we get used to the new normal, the Touch ‘n Go eWallet has made a case for itself as more than just a means of making payments. From safety tips in the form of its very own MCO Kit to bite sized lifestyle content, it went from being “just” an eWallet to an app that elevates the lifestyles of the rakyat.
And it’s with the rakyat in mind that the company plans to diversify and expand its services to also become a provider of financial suites and asset management products. Ong was coy on when an official announcement will be made, but you can expect it to be soon.
Finger on the pulse
It makes sense. Why stop at being just an eWallet, right? It’s uncanny but TNG Digital Sdn Bhd seems to always have their finger on the pulse. How do I know this?
Until today, the only accepted eWallet at 7-Elevens nationwide is the Touch ‘n Go eWallet. I know, it may not sound like much, but the amount of times I’ve walked out of a 7-Eleven having lost faith in the existence of God because the damn kiosk only accepts cash is uncountable.
The company has an uncanny knack for knowing exactly what needs to be done and where. Malaysia may still be in the early days of its economic recovery, but at the rate the Touch ‘n Go eWallet is going, try not to act too surprised when it eventually becomes the go to method of payment in Malaysia.