Watch our recent interview with Soft Space, in Malaysia.
This conversation was held virtually during the 2020 BPC and Radar Payments Annual Client Conference between Jaykie Tan, APAC Business Development Director at BPC Banking Technologies and Jesslynn Tee, Head of Product Development at Soft Space. During the discussion, Jesslynn takes the viewers through the payment landscape in Malaysia and how there's no time like the present, where digital transformation is shaping the future across all financial sectors in ASEAN.
Watch the full webinar HERE
Soft Space is a startup FinTech company that was founded eight years ago in 2012 that began its journey with providing mPOS technology, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Eight years ago, envisioning a major disruption in the payment industry, their vision was to simplify the complexity of financial infrastructure whilst making the payment acceptance accessible and easy for the merchants with the lower costs of entry.
Success entered when they introduced a payment dongle linked to a mobile device, and the innovation was successfully accepted, penetrating into the Thailand market. With this, Soft Space was recognised as the second company in the world to provide centralised EMV processing for card payments. They brought back the same solution to Malaysia and kept expanding and innovating across Southeast Asia. As of today, they have a footprint in about 24 different financial institutions and across 12 different payment markets, with plans to enter the European and American regions.
“We embarked on a new journey with our new product called PIN on Glass in the recent three years. This is for the card payment acceptance with cheaper payment dongle linked to a mobile device and where the consumer can either enter their customer credit card or debit card pin codes on a mobile device. And this technology led us to become the first verified company in the world to have Pin on Glass technology back in 2019. We continue our innovation in introducing the next product which is called Fasstap or also commonly known as Tap to Phone. We have become the first company in the world to process the contactless card payment on mobile devices with PIN-acceptance technology”, adds Jesslynn. Such milestones are a testimony of why Soft Space is the only FinTech in Malaysia to join the Visa FinTech Fastrack Program.
The current cards and payment trends in Malaysia
Over the years, payment processes have been transforming very dramatically through innovative disruptions such as development of mPOS dominance, NSE technology, mobile wallets, contactless payment, etc. There has been a high surge in contactless payments in the Asia Pacific market, whereby there is a noticeable difference in contactless payments being processed in a very quicker and a more secure way, especially during the current pandemic conditions. Both merchants and consumers are definitely very concerned about their hygiene practices due to the pandemic, ignoring physical touch as much as possible. According to a recent Visa report, the need for contactless payments have increased by 40% year over year. Nearly half of the consumers choose not to shop at a store that only offers payments that require human touch. This has been making businesses very critical to expand, hence why Soft Space’s product offering called Fasstap or Tap to Phone has become very significant in the region.
How should a FinTech respond to market changes due to the current Pandemic?
The current pandemic conditions are very concerning and have brought a lot of cashless payment avenues to both merchants and consumers, spiking the digitisation trend. As you can see, there is a high increase in online payments, e-commerce payments for food and beverages purchased, and online shopping across the marketplace for necessities. These trends have emerged in order to reduce using cash and also to ease the congestion at retail checkout counters.
However, for digitisation, there are a lot of barriers for many merchants out there, especially the ones who suffer from high cost, speed and integration for dedicated payments in their existing system. Handling regulatory compliance processes that are needed in order to get their businesses to digitise is also a cumbersome process. A Fintech should come in very handy to assist these merchants to reshape their finance facilities. The aim should be to take away complexities, which makes it easier for the merchants to adapt to cashless payments, either through boosting the contactless payment or through the introduction of white-label solutions such as Fasstap.
How Soft Space is helping their client solve key problems in the region
When the Asia Pacific region introduced PIN-based transactions, the payment terminal costs had increased, especially the cost to roll out was getting more expensive. “Looking at the challenges and analysing the merchant pain points, we came out with solutions to be able to accept payments with a cheaper payment dongle, and also to accept payments purely with mobile devices without any additional device” says Jesslynn.
“To form a full circle from the starting point in a payment platform ecosystem, we continued to expand our service offerings and became a card issuer with e-money license and began to offer online payment services to our clients and also partners. We provide the concept of FinTech as a Service to allow our clients and partners to connect to our payment platform easily whereby we take up the technical and regulatory complexity out of their hands and empower digital payments. Our partners and clients can easily scale up according to their own pace with lower costs, faster delivery and go-to-market opportunities. This helps them to focus on growing their core business and also to improve their customer experiences without worrying about payment sustainability and also the payment technology” adds Jesslynn.
SoftSpace’s partnership with a technology partner such as Radar Payments by BPC
Working with Radar Payments allowed Soft Space to leverage on its established platform to connect to Visa and enhance their go-to-market strategy, rolling out our solution quickly into the market. Jesslynn says, “collaborating with Radar Payments definitely helped us to lower down the cost of development and to reduce the complexity of implementations which are considered as an essential factor in our product offerings as we are able to provide our clients and partners with a cost-effective e-wallet Visa debit card solutions to adopt into their businesses.”