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The Ultimate Online Shopping Guide In Malaysia

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Chapter 6

5 Payment Methods For Online Shopping You Need To Know

Already read our chapter on how to score the best deals, and looking for more?

Here’s a lesser-known trick that could improve your online shopping experience and net you some serious savings: simply use the right online payment method. Here’s what you need to know about these payment methods.

1. Bank transfer

A survey by We Are Social and Hootsuite suggests that 47% of Malaysians use bank transfer to pay for e-commerce transactions, making it the most popular online payment method. That’s not surprising, considering that many people already have online banking accounts.

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While it’s certainly easy to pay via bank transfer, you don’t get any rewards for doing so. By comparison, other payment methods – such as e-wallets and cards – may offer you cashback, points or miles.

Bank transfers also don’t come with any purchase protection measures. This means that if you make a purchase, but receive damaged goods or nothing at all, your bank cannot help reimburse your payment.

Pros:

  • You probably already have access to online banking

Cons:

  • No cashback or rewards points
  • No purchase protection

2. Debit card

Debit cards are sometimes regarded as the credit card’s less flashy sibling, but they can be a great way to score discounts, as many credit card promotions are also applicable to debit cards.

However, unlike credit cards, they don’t offer cashback or rewards points on your purchases. They also don’t come with any purchase protection benefits.

But if you have trouble with impulse purchases they do have one advantage over credit cards – with debit cards, you pay directly with funds from your bank account, so you can’t spend what you don’t have. Using one debit card exclusively for online purchases can help you control your spending… but if you have trouble limiting your spending, you may just get broke before your next salary is in.

Pros:

  • May have discounts or promotions
  • You can’t spend money you don’t have

Cons:

  • No cashback or rewards points
  • No purchase protection

3. Credit card

Credit cards come with a slew of great benefits, making it one of the best ways to pay for your online purchases. Credit card issuers often give discounts or promotions for shopping at certain sites. Sometimes, these discounts are applied automatically. Other times, you may need to check your issuer’s promotions page for specific promo codes you’ll have to use.

Besides that, some credit cards offer rewards when you make purchases. This comes in the form of cashback, miles or rewards points (that can be used to redeem items, vouchers, cashback or miles). This means that you can save on current purchases, or offset the cost of future purchases.

Some credit cards also offer 0% instalment plans where you can break up large purchases into smaller monthly payments. For example, if you pay with your Maybank credit card on Lazada, you can opt for the instalment plan for items above RM500. This can be helpful if you don’t want to pay for a purchase all at once.

Credit cards may also offer purchase protection. This means that your credit card issuer may reimburse you for your purchase if your item is missing or damaged. But it may not cover certain items like jewellery, plants or electronic items. Typically, only premium credit cards have this feature, so you’ll need to check if you are covered.

However, you should only pay with your credit card if you are sure you can repay on time. If you do not repay your bills, you could incur high interest charges.

Pros:

  • May have discounts or promotions
  • May have cashback, rewards points or miles
  • May offer instalment plans
  • May have purchase protection

Cons:

  • High interest charges if you don’t repay on time

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4. E-wallet

When it comes to rewards, e-wallets are a good contender to credit cards. They too offer discounts or promotions, and may provide cashback or rewards points whenever you make a purchase. But some e-wallets offer better rewards than others, and not all offer cashback.

Sometimes, you can even use your credit card to reload your e-wallet and double dip on rewards. For example, some credit cards may offer Grab vouchers or cashback for topping up GrabPay. When you use your GrabPay money, you’ll earn GrabRewards points then can be used to redeem items or vouchers.

However, e-wallets aren’t always accepted online. Of the major shopping sites popular in Malaysia, Lazada accepts Touch ‘n Go eWallet, Taobao accepts Boost and Touch ‘n Go, while Zalora accepts Boost, GrabPay, Maybank QRPay and Touch ‘n Go. You’d be hard pressed to find international sites that support payments from our local e-wallets.

Pros:

  • May have discounts or promotions
  • May have cashback or rewards points
  • May be able to double dip rewards with credit cards

Cons:

  • Not accepted by many online shopping sites

5. Cash

Finally, if these online methods are not available to you, you can pay with physical cash. Lazada and Shopee allow you to pay by cash at any 7-Eleven store. You’ll need to pay within a certain timeframe (e.g. 48 hours) or your order will be cancelled. Your order will only be confirmed once you make the payment.

Alternatively, you could pay by cash on delivery (COD) – that is, paying cash when you physically receive your item. This could work in your favour if you’re buying a second-hand item, as you can make sure that the item is in proper working condition before you pay for it.

The downside to paying in cash? In an age where we can make purchases instantly, it’s a hassle to complete your payment physically.

Pros:

  • For second-hand purchases, you can inspect the items first before paying

Cons:

  • Not supported by many sites, and not applicable for international shopping
  • It’s a hassle to make a physical payment

So, there you go – five ways to pay for your online shopping. Which is your favourite? Let us know below!

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