Hong Leong Bank Partners PayNet to Transform Sekinchan into the First Cashless Kampung in Malaysia
As part of ongoing efforts to provide access to financial services in non-urban areas, Hong Leong Bank Berhad (“HLB” or the “Bank”) has formed a partnership with Payments Network Malaysia Sdn Bhd (“PayNet”) to roll out the first ‘Project Cashless Kampung’ at Sekinchan, Selangor, the first non-urban area to be cashless enabled. This project aims to champion financial inclusion in the small town by ensuring all 24,000 Sekinchan residents have access to full-fledged banking facilities and services and, empowering 800 small business owners to digitalise their businesses through the acceptance of cashless and contactless payments.
We were invited to visit Sekinchan to check out how Hong Leong Bank Partners PayNet to Transform Sekinchan into the First Cashless Kampung in Malaysia.
While most businesses in urban areas have converted to cashless for the past few years, most traders or businesses in Sekinchan still doing their business in the old ways, cash only.
Hong Leong Bank is driving efforts toward financial inclusivity by enabling cashless and contactless payments for 24,000 Sekinchan residents and small businesses as well as schools in addition to increasing access to banking.
While we visit the Sekinchan market, some traders have adapted cashless. It is a huge effort by HLB to transform Sekinchan into the First Cashless Kampung in Malaysia. This will take some time as the term cashless is still new to many traders and businesses in Sekinchan.
Domenic Fuda, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of HLB said the partnership with PayNet to transform Sekinchan into the first cashless kampung in Malaysia, is in line with the Bank’s ‘Digital at the Core’ strategy and ESG values to drive both digital and financial inclusion in the communities the Bank operates in.
“While there is a clear shift towards digital and cashless payment methods in Malaysia, there is still a lower rate of adoption in rural areas which this initiative aims to address as part of the Bank’s effort to drive financial inclusion in the country. We also believe that financial inclusion does not simply stop at cashless penetration and adoption. It also involves increasing access to fair banking opportunities as well as financial education for young digital natives to nurture money-and digital-smart future generations so that no one is left behind in this digital economy.
Through this ‘Project Cashless Kampung’, HLB looks forward to empowering the business community across paddy and fruit farming to fisheries and tourism in capturing more opportunities to grow their business by accepting cashless payments, especially now as Malaysian consumers are increasingly preferring cashless and contactless. We hope this will help further build Sekinchan’s thriving community and increase its popularity as a tourist destination offering cashless convenience for visitors,” added Fuda.
The initial phase will see HLB facilitating the opening of bank accounts and debit cards issuance for the Sekinchan community, without them needing to visit a bank branch. For the business community, the Bank will be equipping all 800 businesses with an HLB DuitNow starter kit which includes a DuitNow QR for businesses to accept contactless QR payments from mobile banking apps and eWallets, as well as the All-in-One Payment Terminal that accepts both card and QR payments. The Bank will first focus on pasar, hawker and flea market traders before equipping other local businesses in the area that are yet to be cashless enabled including schools.
Farhan Ahmad, Group Chief Executive Officer of PayNet added, “Our Digital Payments Insights Study released earlier this year noted the urban-rural divide in cashless adoption still exists, with nearly two-thirds of Malaysians in non-urban areas still preferring cash to pay for daily expenses whereas only 36.2% in urban areas still pay cash for their daily spending. ‘Project Cashless Kampung’ is aimed at closing that gap by the adoption of cashless payments via DuitNow QR or with their MyDebit ATM cards. To optimize impact, we intend to take the key learnings and expand this Project to other non-urban areas.”
There is definitely progress as traders and businesses in Sekinchan starting to adapt cashless. Even the traders and the temple at Pantai Redang in Sekinchan has adopted the Cashless payment.
For the temple, they now prefer cashless payments as there were theft of the donation box in the past. Hence, with cashless it is safer and easier for everyone.
On top of that, HLB also initiated the street art or murals programs to show the daily lives of the locals in Sekinchan. The mural painters are locals from Sekinchan and currently, they are slowly painting the walls around the town.
Hong Leong Bank Partners PayNet to Transform Sekinchan into the First Cashless Kampung in Malaysia. On your next visit to Sekinchan, things will be easier and safer with cashless by HLB.
PayNet is the operator of DuitNow QR, the nation’s inter-operable QR standard and MyDebit ATM services.