Press Room


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Kuala Lumpur – Feb. 11, 2014 – 60 percent of Malaysian consumers say their preferred payment method for daily spending is paper rather than plastic, according to a recent study by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy.

Malaysian respondents from the Nielsen’s Global Survey of Saving and Investment Strategies, which polled more than 30,000 Internet1 respondents in 60 countries, say their preferred form of payment is cash (60%), credit card (20%), debit card (14%) or prepaid card (2%). This preference was even stronger in the Philippines (74%), Thailand (68%) and Vietnam (61%).

“In general, reliance on cash is linked to lower GDP growth in developing economies: hence, increasing reliance on other payment methods is particularly important in these countries in Southeast Asia. In Malaysia, there is an opportunity to increase usage of other financial payment options through education campaigns.” said Luca Griseri, Head of Nielsen’s Financial Services in Singapore and Malaysia. “Malaysian consumers have the potential to increase usage of non-cash payment modes by leveraging on the country’s extensive usage of smartphones and mobile devices.”

Nielsen information also shows that 42 percent of Malaysian respondents use one payment card on a regular basis, while 40 percent use two and 11 percent use three. Only six percent of respondents regularly use more than three cards.


Nielsen reports that 14 percent of global respondents are already using electronic payments as their second most preferred payment vehicle.

“Presently there are many options available for Malaysian consumers who choose to pay without cash (such as contactless technology). However, it is important to understand the barriers and reasons why many consumers in Malaysia prefer cash over credit cards,” said Griseri.

When it comes to cyber-safety concerns, more than half of Malaysian respondents (55%) say they are either hesitant or would not shop online and use their payment card details on either a smartphone or tablet device although their personal information is protected. Consumers in Vietnam (54%). Singapore (51%) and Indonesia (50%) shares the same view. On the contrary, consumers in the Philippines (57%) and Thailand (55%) revealed that they feel comfortable shopping online using their payment card detailed stored on smart devices.

“Efforts to decrease reliance on cash needs to involve different agents. Payment providers can educate consumers about the real costs of using cash and about safety and the benefits of using other payment alternatives. The government can educate citizens on using non-cash payment responsibly and contribute to the financial well-being of its citizens. Legislation and new technology are equally important and the latest payment cards in Malaysia are already equipped with the more secure EMV technology as compared to the magnetic strip. Finally, the involvement of retailers at the point of sale is crucial for consumers to embrace cashless payment alternatives.” concludes Griseri.


The Nielsen Global Survey of Saving and Investment Strategies was conducted between August 14 and September 6, 2013, and polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. In Malaysia, the sample size is 504. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers, and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Survey, was established in 2005.


Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit