Hong Leong Bank
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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.
Thanks to the wonderful invitation, I recently joined the media group and travelled to Sekinchan to see for myself how the small business owners over there digitalise their businesses through the acceptance of cashless and contactless payments. Y.B. Tuan Ng Suee Lim was also attending the day trip, explaining how the project benefited the small town while showing us the beauty of 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.”
PayNet is the operator of DuitNow QR, the nation’s inter-operable QR standard and MyDebit ATM services.