Malaysia has become one of the most advanced digital economies in Southeast Asia, making it a fertile ground for many startups, including those in the fintech industry. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Malaysian fintech ecosystem is rapidly becoming an integral part of its financial sector.
As with many growing fintech industries, Malaysia is home to an extensive collection of companies looking to establish and strengthen their business model before expanding to other countries. Currently, numerous fintech startups offer basic features such as mobile wallets and digital payments; however, some of them are also working tirelessly to widen their horizons and provide innovative products to consumers. We take a closer look at five exciting fintech startups in Malaysia.
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Established in 2018, Curlec is a venture capital-backed fintech startup that enables small and medium scale businesses to collect recurring payments and handle their cash flow effectively. It claims to be the first Malaysian independent software company to offer an online interbank Direct Debit payment system to businesses.
This system allows merchants to directly collect payments from a customer’s bank account without relying on manual processes or expensive card processing systems. Curlec also allows merchants to integrate the payment system into their existing software.
For creating an innovative service that smoothens the payment collection processes of SMEs, Curlec was named Malaysia’s Best Fintech Startup at the 2019 Southeast Asian Rice Bowl Startup Awards.
The startup gained wide acceptance shortly after launching, helping the company record its first RM 1 million worth of transactions within a few months. They collaborate with banks, enabling a clear view about the deductions in customers’ accounts, reducing the chances of payment rejections, making it easy for merchants to have a seamless cash flow.
Versa is a digital cash management platform that gives individuals an opportunity to manage their finances better and invest wisely. It recently formed a partnership with Affin Hwang Asset Management, Malaysia’s third-largest asset management company, with a total asset valuation of over 60 billion MYR ($14.6 billion USD).
The platform allows its customers to earn profits by depositing funds into their savings accounts. Versa is reputed to be the first recognised eService platform licensed and approved by the Malaysian Securities Commission. The company operates on the money market fund (MMF) concept, a type of mutual fund in the financial industry.
Although this concept offers a more effective financial management solution for fixed deposits and savings accounts, the average Malaysian investor is oblivious to the opportunities hidden in MMFs. Therefore, Versa plans to bring awareness and accessibility to this largely untapped opportunity.
MoneyMatch is a trans-border payment platform that serves mainly SMEs. In June 2017, the platform received its Fintech Regulatory Sandbox license from Bank Negara Malaysia. It is also among the first Malaysian fintech startups to employ electronic know-your-customer verification in the onboarding process.
During their early days, MoneyMatch offered peer-to-peer currency exchange services, where individuals can exchange and transfer foreign currencies online without the help of a middleman. Later on, the company pivoted from the P2P business model and now offers a digital international payment system.
MoneyMatch operates a direct payment model, using banking and payout partners to process transactions. It is also gradually integrating blockchain technology into its payment system to deliver faster and more transparent services.
Kuala Lumpur-based IIMMPACT provides multiple services centred on information and payment for insurance, transportation, bill payments, mobile recharge, and government services. Since its establishment in 2017, the company has introduced various innovative eTransaction tools through its eWallet application. Over the years, it has created over 100 products, giving its customers a handful of payment options from which to choose.
IIMMPACT allows business owners to integrate its payment system into their platform. The company also operates a revenue-sharing model, offering customers a 10% discount whenever they use the eWallet app to make payments. This incentive has helped businesses grow their customer base over time.
A fast-growing payment, IT, and telecommunications company, ATX develops and integrates solutions and other services for various industries, including remittance service providers, retail network operators, telecommunication companies, money service business operators, and pay-tv providers.
The company runs an integrated payment platform that connects retail partners to product owners through a back-end system, thereby enhancing consumers and businesses’ ability to carry out convenient, affordable, and seamless transactions. ATX also provides consultation services to investors and business owners on business operational planning and regulatory matters.
In recent years, the fintech industry has become one of the most thriving business sectors in Malaysia. This fertile ecosystem has created an enabling environment for Malaysian fintech startups allowing them to develop innovative solutions that ease business processes across various industries. And with massive support from the Malaysian government and venture capitalists, it is safe to say that the best is yet to come for the financial technology industry here.