Digital Commissioner

TnG Tube
  • A while back, we noted Youtube only accepts debit and credit cards for its premium subscription.
  • This meant the unbanked had no choice but to put up with unpleasant and disruptive ads.
  • We are happy to now note that YouTube now accepts payments from the Touch n Go (TnG) ewallet.
  • Thus, the unbanked can plausibly subscribe via this route; cash → purchase ewallet top-up PIN from 7-11 → topup ewallet → purchase YouTube subscription.

Digital Service Commission
TnG is also in the news as the means to pay highway tolls using RFID. The growing ubiquity and usefulness of TnG suggest it is becoming utility-like. As such, there could be a need for some regulatory oversight ('Commissioner') to take the side of common folks:
  • Cannot unreasonably decline, reject or frustrate an application to join service.
  • Threat every member equitably: no cherry-picking, no deliberate shabby service for lower-value customers
  • Cannot suspend, degrade, cancel or boot-out customers arbitrarily with no means of appeal.
  • Cannot confiscate balances of suspended, cancelled customers; dubious or untraceable balances to be transferred to a Commission trust account.
  • No one-sided, onerous or predatory T&C.
Not to put too much onus on service providers. They can graduate their service to make it less abrupt eg. instant sign-up, more privileges upon verification and good behaviour (via merit points etc). For infractions, warning countdowns (first strike, second strike), demerits, sin-bin suspensions etc.

Super App vs Sleek Wallet
  • Ewallets should, at the first instance, focus on core functions: payments (point-of-sale, online, bills, parking etc), balances (accounts, interest, rewards etc), remittance and receipts (local, foreign), third-party integration (Google Pay, Apple Pay etc).
  • Beyond these are secondary services: insurance, lending, credit rating etc.
  • Recently some ewallets have added a bevy of services super-app or yahoo portal style (shopping, deliveries, ticketing, ehailing etc).
  • By our reckoning, going yahoo portal style detracts from the wallet (although the wallet may be getting commissions from it). Unless the ewallet acts as a fussy curator, setting high standards for its downstream affiliates.
  • Here are some other financial products users might be interested in (next section):

Ninja Wallet
  • Basic crypto: but not for trading or speculation (limited transaction size, balances). Paypal-style. Provides safer avenue for noobs wanting to try-out crypto. Restrictions also shield the provider from the moral hazard of being seen to provide an on-ramp to (according to critics) gambling or pyramid-like activities.
  • Digital gold, foreign currencies, reputable stablecoins, index funds, ETFs. Third party providers already exist for experienced players. This is for less knowledgeable common folks backed by a trusted brand and/or institutions.
  • Offline digital payment. Similar to the original pe-loaded TnG card but in app form. Useful for rural areas and where the internet service is weak or non-existent. Empowers small and rural businesses with digital payments.