While these are still challenging circumstances, we believe digital remittances have helped facilitate speedy and convenient completion of transactions
KUALA LUMPUR: Merchantrade Asia Sdn Bhd, reported a smooth transitional increase in digital remittance transactions during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
The leading money transfer, e-money issuer, wholesale currency services and foreign currency exchange company recorded 100 per cent increase in registration and transaction of its digital remittance over the past three months, due to the closure of branches that were closed during the coronavirus lockdown.
Managing director Ramasamy K Veeran said no doubt the MCO had interrupted business at its 84 branches nationwide, it was business as usual for the company's digital remittance service as well as Merchantrade Money ewallet.
"We saw a high pick-up rate on online transaction and had expanded our digital customer base on the platform," he told The New Straits Times.
He said Merchantrade is fortunate to put in place an infrastructure and a digital ecosystem well ahead since 2011, expanding its digital offering such as Remit, eBiz and Merchantrade Money.
"In fact, we are the first non-bank to offer digital remittance service to our customers, ahead of other money services business (MSB) operators.
"As an international money transfer operator (IMTO), we managed to increase our partners during MCO and post MCO for global transaction.
"We also had over the years built Merchantrade as a trusted brand domestically and at the international arena investing in a remittance platform which connects globally to 65 partners of which 40 are banks and 25 are non-banks," he said.
Merchantrade's easy-to-use applications for all digital services including eRemit, eBiz and Merchantrade Money have helped to ease the difficulties faced by customers and build their confidence in digital platforms and cross-border transactions.
"While these are still challenging circumstances, we believe digital remittances have helped facilitate speedy and convenient completion of transactions.
"We hope to see the trend increasing as people see the convenience and safety aspects and change their behaviour," he said.
Through its transformative business strategy, one that moves away from traditional MSB, the company is steadfastly contributing to the digital space in order to support the flourishing digital platforms across the region.
"It has taken years for us to develop Merchantrade to be what it is today. At Merchantrade, we pioneered digital remittance and the pandemic has assisted in driving home the message we have been preaching over the last 10 years.
"It is hard to put a number for how much we have invested, even more so in what we plan to invest. It is more important for us to continuously look at the market needs as the digital space moves very fast," Ramasamy said when asked on future investments.
He said factors like globalisation also play a part in dictating what happens in the market environment, adding that MSB market is changing very fast from traditional to digital.
In 2019, Merchantrade's remittance transaction value was almost RM8 billion for both the domestic and international market.
Domestic outbound alone contributed in its platform was close to RM6 billion of which 15 per cent of the domestic market was via digital channel.
As for Merchantrade Money ewallet, the company posted gross transaction value (GTV) of RM145 million for 2019 and forecast triple digit robust growth by end 2020, Ramasamy said.