KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 – AirAsia group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes today announced the launch of the BigPay e-wallet which he said will tap into the low-cost airline’s database of 63 million passengers.
Fernandes said the BigPay firm is part of AirAsia’s digital strategy, declaring that its value may even surpass the airline’s worth in the future.
“One day this product will be worth more than @AirAsia . Many features being rolled out. Soon no more cash on AIRASIA. Analysts don’t even know about our digital strategy,” he wrote on Twitter using his official account.
“BigPay is a electronic wallet which will in due course do FX remittances and maybe money lending. Using AIRASIA huge database of 63 million names,” he added.
He also indicated that BigPay is building a platform with e-hailing services Uber and Grab, and hotel and flight booking site Traveloka.
According to BigPay’s website, the company is a full licensed e-money issuer that has approval from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) where customers’ funds are kept in a trust account.
The website states that the company’s BigPay card is a prepaid card where customers can top up and store up to RM10,000, adding that it can be used to make payments at any of the 35.9 million Mastercard merchants globally and to withdraw money at any of the two million ATM machines that accept Mastercard.
“The BigPay card is a prepaid card, which functions as a normal credit or debit card except that it does not provide you with a line of credit and is not linked to your bank account,” it said.
“You must top up your card and ensure you have sufficient balance to complete any transactions using your BigPay card. You can only use your card up to the amount you have topped up and in any event only up to the maximum card limit available for your card (i.e. that we have approved for you).This gives you complete control of your spending and if you lose your card you can just freeze it,” it said.
Customers can top up their BigPay account using up to 10 credit or debit cards and immediately see their transactions on a mobile application, with all fees and charges to be made transparent so that they can see what they are paying for.
They can also transfer the digital money to their friends instantly for free using the app, while also tracking their expenses and to help them stick to a budget, the website said.
BigPay said on its website that it is currently working with Grab to unblock the use of BigPay card to pay for its services.
AirAsia passengers are poised to enjoy more benefits by using the BigPay card, such as zero processing fee for flight bookings made on the AirAsia website and exclusive access to AirAsia sales, a product disclosure sheet available on the BigPay website said.
The website said those who are already members of the AirAsia BIG Loyalty Programme will be able to earn AirAsia BIG points if they use the same email address to sign up for the BigPay service, adding that these points will in the future be redeemable to get discounted flights.
On its website, BNM currently lists five banks and 26 companies as e-money issuers under its regulation.
The e-wallet scene has been picking up in Malaysia, with China’s popular Alipay mobile wallet application accepted for use locally since last May, while the Sarawak government last November launched its own cashless mobile payment solution SarawakPay with features such as an e-wallet.
Last December, Treasury Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah announced that a pilot project for e-wallet service Take Action Pay (TaPay) will be carried out in Cyberjaya with the aim of making it the first cashless city.
Just last week, Touch ‘n Go Sdn Bhd which reportedly has over 18 million active card users and its joint-venture partner Ant Financial Services Group were announced to have received BNM’s nod to offer an e-wallet system.
Last Wednesday, a company under MYEG received BNM’s approval to issue e-money through its iPayEasy e-wallet with a cap of RM1,500 per customer. MOL Global Inc’s subsidiary launched its BNM-regulated e-wallet app ‘One2pay’ on the same day.