Malaysia’s first multi-currency SME bank account targets overseas growth

SME multi-currency payments
Image by Lulu877 | Bigstockphoto

The rapid digitalization of financial services and the explosion of e-commerce have allowed many SMEs in Malaysia to reach a broader market, but challenges persist in obtaining payments abroad, putting pressure on both resources and costs.

HSBC Malaysia’s recently launched Global Wallet attempts to provide SMEs with a new digital multi-currency account for overseas transactions and real-time funds management. With a digital wallet linked to one of the country’s top banks, HSBC Malaysia believes that SMEs will be more confident to operate across borders.

In a statement, HSBC said their Global Wallet is designed for SMEs doing business across the world, helping them send and receive money in 10 currencies and hold and manage those currencies with low correspondence fees.

The bank anticipates that this product will help grow its SME customer base by as much as 25% in its first year of introduction.

SMEs make up approximately 99% of the country’s businesses, but many remain unable to digitalize, let alone recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Their post-pandemic success partly hinges on their ability to reach international and foreign clients and their attitude towards technology and IT services.

Some Malaysia fintechs have also stepped up to the call. In December 2021, Razer Merchant Services became the first platform to enable DuitNow QR, Cross-Border QR payments, and DuitNow Online Banking/Wallets for Southeast Asian businesses.

“Razer Fintech and our B2B arm, RMS, are excited to be the first Merchant Acquirer to enable all three Duitnow payment channels, further cementing our leadership in delivering new payment product features, in partnership with Paynet,” said Razer Fintech CEO Lee Li Ming in a press release.

The Malaysian government has launched SME internationalization efforts over the last few years, aimed at encouraging SMEs to digitalize and innovate.

While digital growth differs in every country, Southeast Asia is poised to be the world’s digital payment powerhouse. According to a new IDC report commissioned by global payments platform 2C2P, Southeast Asia’s e-commerce spending is expected to rise by 162% to reach US$179.8 billion by 2025 across the region, with digital payments accounting for 91% of total e-commerce payments.

Related article: Bidders lining up for Malaysian digital banking licences

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