KUALA LUMPUR: The next time you go to a fast-food stall for your burger or doughnut, don’t worry if you have forgotten your money as all you need is your Touch ’n Go card.
By next Saturday, you can buy such items from 21 outlets in the Klang Valley under a pilot scheme for the Touch ‘n Go card which is currently a toll, public transport and parking paying device.
The outlets are from A&W, Burger King, Dunkin’ Donut, 7-Eleven, Carrefour hypermarkets, Caltex convenience stores and Cineleisure.
According to Touch ’n Go chief operating officer Hasni Zarina Mohamed Khan, this project would be the start of the card being used for retail purchase. Describing it as a natural progression, she pointed out that the card was an electronic purse and supports Bank Negara’s move for a cashless society.
“We have issued 4.5 million cards to date of which 50% are active (used at least once a month).
“At present, the cards are used mainly for toll payment but we hope that by next year, 5% to 10% of the cardholders will use it for retail,” she said in an interview.
She said even for the Octopus card – the transit electronic purse in Hong Kong that is one of the most successful in the world – only 20% of the holders use it for retail purchase.
Touch ‘n Go hopes to increase the number of retail outlets by 20 a month. There could be even more than 150 such outlets throughout the country by year’s end.
She explained that her company had to supply the card readers and backend solutions for the outlets and this took time.
“Consumers need not worry about hidden cost because all the chain stores have an agreement that there will be no extra charges for those using Touch ’n Go cards compared to those using cash. If the item is RM1 then it will still be RM1 if you use our card,” Hasni Zarina added.
Hasni Zarina said cardholders could top up the value of their cards to RM1,000 and need not worry if the cards were lost or stolen.
“All they have to do is to inform us immediately and we can block the card. We can then issue a new card with the remaining value,” she said.
The card could also be a good way of controlling children's spending as this could be their one card from taking public transport to buying their lunch or snacks.
I notice one issue that comes around with this card.
If the card is stolen, is there any secured protection to protect the virtual money in this card? It is convenient to use it because we just need to credit the money into the card and swap or tap it at the machine to get the stuff we need. We don't know to bring cash or coins to pay.
If there's no protection, it is the same as using real cash. The danger is still there. You get robbed, and your money is all gone. You thought of putting RM1000 to buy shoes or clothes or just food. In the end, you lost all the money because of the robbery.