PETALING JAYA - The Association of Banks Malaysia (ABM) expects a surge in the number of people switching to online banking, with the cheque processing fee set to increase from 15 sen (S$0.06) to 50 sen on April 1.
"Our member banks have been receiving rising queries on their e-payment products," ABM executive director Chuah Mei Lin said in an interview.
She said the "Experience IBG" road shows launched in October to promote transfer of funds via online banking channels attracted more than 1,500 participants, mainly SMEs and micro enterprises, of which 66 per cent signed up for online banking.
Chuah said that e-payments have increased by an average of 23.4 per cent annually over the last decade, citing information provided by Bank Negara.
She said 2012 saw more than 300 million financial transactions with a value close to RM15 trillion being performed via electronic channels by Malaysian households and businesses.
The number of registered online banking users has grown from 3.2 million in 2006, to eight million in 2009 and 12.8 million users in September 2012.
"Online security should not be an issue detering people from making e-payments," she said, noting a decline in banking fraud since 2012.
Apart from continuous efforts by banks, customers must also be responsible for safeguarding their assets and savings and be aware of the types of scams out there, advised Chuah.
Kenny Goh, CEO of Macro Kiosk Bhd, a mobile messaging technology company with a presence in 14 countries, assured that e-payment was much safer compared to conventional methods.
"Cheques are even more dangerous. What if someone forged your signature? E-payment is safer, with second factor verifications like the Transaction Authorisation Code (TAC)," he stressed.
"Of course there will be a grace period after the additional fee (for cheques) is implemented but at this point, we have already seen an increase in the SMS alerts sent by banks to customers on their online transactions.
"More people are using online fund transfers and payments. It's a positive trend and it shows that our community has become more technology-savvy.
"Just ask most young people whether they know how to write a cheque. Most don't because they don't have to. They do everything online," he said.
Contrary to popular belief, more senior citizens are also turning to e-payment, said Goh, citing his father as an example.
"He's 60-something and doesn't even go to the bank these days.
"He does everything online,'' Goh quipped.