Personal Views · 2020-08-20 0

Going cashless in Malta. Does it work?

Through this article, I will be giving a small overview of how I moved to a cashless system in Malta and my several observations while doing so.

I always imagined a world where we get rid of physical money. It takes up space, gets lost, and even deteriorates by time. And let’s be honest. We all hate to have a wallet full of small change running around. Don’t get me wrong. I will always remain loyal to our once beloved currency. The Maltese Lira.

Pic 1: Maltese 20 Lira

Money in Malta is essentially spent anywhere one can imagine. This includes outlet shops, restaurants, bars, recreational outlets, governmental portals, and others.

Through my experiences, this is what I learned.

  • Most shop outlets in Malta tended to use e-pos systems at checkout which allowed me to make use of credit card contactless payments. When contactless was not available I made use of a credit card by inserting it into the e-pos. BOV has recently raised its limit for contactless payments to €50.00 which is very good news. However, shops with products costing less then €10.00, tended to request cash payments. These included some bars, fast food take-aways, small souvenir shops, and very recently at a watch-maker.
  • Revolut has in many ways revolutionized the way we do banking. With its easy to use app, one is able to process transactions with ease and efficiency. You are able to split costs with friends, send requests for payments, and even invest in whatever you want. The only downside to Revolut is that it is strictly an application experience and no internet banking is available. I use Revolut quite often to send payments and also split bills with friends. With a particular group of friends, I have set up a group vault in which everyone has access to which they can top-up at their own convenience. I also make use of it with a number of private-teachers to facilitate payments and receive a receipt through the application itself.
Pic 2: Revolut
  • BOV, which is the bank I use, has a similar system but its functions are very limited compared to Revolut. The refreshed version which they have implemented recently has given their mobile banking experience a major boost. My critique is that you are not able to look into your investments. This is solely reserved for the internet banking experience which also received a new fresh look. Moreover, if you do not log out properly, it does not allow you to re-enter again until a certain amount of time has passed which I absolutely can’t stand. This is because you might close off the application by mistake. Overall, I use BOV mobile pay quite often to pay friends through their mobile numbers.
Pic 3: Bov Mobile Pay

Side Note: A good tip that might help you is the following. Do not get physical money from an ATM which is not owned by your bank. In Malta’s case, both BOV & HSBC introduced charges of up to €5.00 if you are to use their ATMs with the other bank’s card. A simple way to go around this is to top up your Revolut and then make use of their card. This will allow you to get physical money without being charged bank fees for their services. I only make use of this system when I am very far away from my own bank’s ATM and there is a closer ATM that I can make use of. The only thing that you should look out for is that Revolut has set a limit of €200 per month that can be withdrawn. This is more than enough for the average student like me.

Therefore through Revolut and BOV mobile pay, I managed to process 90% of my transactions. The other 10% is when I am with friends and the outlet requires physical money.  In most cases, my friends end up paying the whole payment by cash and I send them money through either one of the applications. If not, then I would have cash in the exact amount that is needed.

Outlets that do not have e-pos machines should either contact a local bank or the government for help. Revolut also offers services for businesses that can be found here. The same can be said for BOV through here.

Side Note: It’s sad to see that BOV does not offer its services to I-Gaming companies since they are listed as high-risk. Moreover, it’s even sadder that BOV does not update itself with modern times. Revolut recently introduced instant money transfer from European banks to their application. This allows you to transfer money back and forth from the bank to their application instantly. However, when looking at the list of confirmed banks with Revolut, BOV did not sign up for the service. Such a pity. This means that when sending money from Revolut to BOV it takes up to 3 days for the transaction to be completed. Please note that I do not have anything against BOV, it’s just these little things that bug me which I would like to share with you.

Pic 4: List of Maltese Banks subscribed to Revolut Instant Transfer

If we truly believe in a digital economy then let’s make it one.

From my side, a new technology that I really want to start making use of is contactless payments through the phone. This technology has existed for a number of years now but since I own a One Plus Two, my phone does not allow it. I will eventually make use of this technology when I buy a new phone.

Thank you for reading. It is very vital to comment to create a cohesive discussion.

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