By AZALEA AZUAR / Pic BLOOMBERG
THE adoption of digital financial solutions is still low in the country as more Malaysians seem to be more comfortable using traditional transactions.
According to a survey conducted by digital cash management platform Versa Asia Sdn Bhd, only 6% of 3,000 respondents attested to the usage of digital investment and savings, while more than 30% did not use any digital financial apps at all.
The survey also revealed that apart from traditional banking apps, the other popular choice is e-wallets.
Versa Asia CEO Teoh Wei Xiang said based on the survey, respondents also prefer digital saving apps that are convenient, trustworthy as well as easy for them to withdraw their cash, which is what the platform plans to fulfil.
He said the digital cash management platform was also formulated based on the importance of emergency funds, which will also be able to address various needs.
Teoh said the platform will encourage more Malaysians to understand the benefits of money market funds (MMFs) during hard time.
Taking its Muslim-majority users into consideration, Teoh said the platform is also on the lookout for other Shariah products to be included in the portfolio.
“A large portion of our users — 12% to 17% — are Muslims, so we believe there is demand for Shariah products,” he added.
Since its soft launch in January, Versa Asia has achieved more than RM10 million in deposits. The platform now has 4,000 registered accounts with an average deposit amount of RM2,700 per user, who can enjoy earning a daily interest of up to 2.4% per annum when they start investing with a minimum of RM1.
Teoh said Versa Asia also gives users the flexibility to withdraw their deposits without having to wait for the fund to mature, unlike fixed-deposits.
The platform does not charge sales charges, transfer nor exit fees, and is also supported by the United Nations Capital Development Fund’s Financial Innovation Lab programme.
Teoh said Versa Aisa has partnered Affin Hwang Asset Management Bhd, which allows Malaysians to invest in the RM2 billion-sized MMF Affin Hwang Enhanced Deposit Fund.
Since April 2005, the fund has achieved 66% in returns and it also aims to provide users with returns guided by the fixed deposit rate of Malaysia, making it a popular choice for cash management and savings.
Quoting a survey by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, Versa Asia chairman Datuk Noorazman Abd Aziz said 71.4% of self-employed Malaysians have savings that can only last for a month, while 82.7% are those in the private sector where their savings only last for two months.