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Aggregating the Banking and Finance Industry


By Aron Raj

While all Malaysians hope to see more fintech innovations from banks and financial services companies at a quicker pace, changing legacy systems can be challenging. As such, companies like iMoney, RinggitPlus and CompareHero in Malaysia provide the platform not just for banks, but also consumers to speed up the entire process.

Compare Asia Group is Asia’s leading financial managing platform for banking and insurance. The company aims to raise the level of financial literacy in the region and provide more choices for customers. To achieve that, the company localised all of its chapters in Asia. In Malaysia, it’s known as CompareHero, as SingSaver in Singapore, MoneyHero in Hong Kong, MoneyGuru in Thailand and MoneyMax in The Philippines.

In an interview with Disruptive Tech Asean, Benny Chee, Country Manager Malaysia, CompareHero, shared his insights on how the banking and financial industry is working towards digitalising all processes, as well as how CompareHero serves as an aggregator in compiling all the information into a single place.

“Malaysia has space to grow with open banking and digital banking being the future. Malaysia is a bit behind on this, but from a regulatory perspective, we are quite proactive.”

By aggregating the information, Benny said they are complimenting what banks do and help break down the information into bitesize pieces. This, in turn, helps them drive financial literacy among banking customers, making CompareHero one of the biggest aggregators in Asia.

Having said that, Benny pointed out that China focused a lot on creating financial literacy, which is why they are at the forefront of the economy when it comes to tech. With a billion plus population, reaching out to the unbankable in China was a huge task. And the only way financial institutions in China could make it work was by using tech to reach their customers. From that point on, Benny said that China was able to leapfrog other countries in their digital adoption.

The same can be said on digital wallets. According to Benny, China was able to implement the usage of digital wallets fast and effectively because they were not only able to educate consumers on digital wallets but also ensured merchants adhere to the usage and acceptance of digital wallets.

“In Malaysia, we have about 46 e-wallet providers. It is important to share and educate information on this. E-wallets can’t be viewed as a disruptor to banks. Instead, they are more of an enabler to the banks. Consumers look for products based on needs. They search for products that add value as a user. E-wallets gives them that convenience.”

Based on their research, there is a huge gap in terms of education and help on recommendations in many sectors. Which is why, they are looking to also focus their services in other sectors like travel and car insurance.

Ensuring Data Security

With all this information, surely how the data is used will be a concern for customers. Benny said that whatever data they receive, the input is secured. With one of their major investors being the IFC World Bank, their task is to promote financial literacy within the region. In Malaysia, the focus on data is on credit card, so securing and analysing this data is different compared to other countries. For example, in the Philippines, the focus is on car insurance. Benny added that the strategies on the data is localised based on how they run the business in that market.

However, he admitted that cross-selling does take place on their platform. The collected data is either used to personalise services or to gain useful insights on audience behaviours. It allows them to engage with customers in a holistic manner, by enabling them to interact with customers and analyse their financial needs.

“At the end of the day, customers are looking for long term relationships with organisations. They would want to be kept informed of the latest updates in the simplest manner. By understanding customers’ needs, we will be able to optimise the customer experience and eventually develop long-standing relationships. It is important for us to be extremely responsive to cope with the volatility created by customers engaging via digital technologies today. Being able to react in real-time and make the customer feel personally valued is only possible through advanced analytics.”

By applying analytics for designing and controlling the process, optimising business operations ensures efficiency and effectiveness to fulfil customer expectations and achieve operational excellence. Benny added that this also mitigates risk and fraud. Efficient data and analytics capabilities deliver optimum levels of fraud prevention and overall organisational security. Furthermore, integration and correlation of data across the enterprise can offer a unified view of the fraud across various lines of business, products, and transactions.

“Data security is also taken very seriously and how consumer confidence is further built is via the Personal Data Protection Act of 2010, which has been implemented by the Central Bank in Malaysia. Our Privacy Policy explains how we collect, use and disclose customers personal data, including the measures taken to ensure that the data stays secure and confidential.”

Automation and Visibility in Fintech

Blockchain is one of the methods in which visibility in finance can be achieved. Benny said that although blockchain is a need in fintech, it is still very much usable based on value added if we go beyond fintech. Which is why, he firmly believes “blockchain will be here to stay and be used beyond fintech.”

But it’s not just visibility that fintech players want. Automation through artificial intelligence is the trend most industries are using to speed up their processes as well as improve their efficiencies. AI can help fintech in some decision-making processes, but many are still studying the visibility as well as how much AI can improve their efficiency.

For Compare Asia, in particular CompareHero in Malaysia, he said they do have some AI planning, but it’s still under the testing phase.

“There are many factors to weigh in before we can launch this, along with the market readiness. One thing to take into account in a country like Malaysia is the multiple languages that we are faced with. We must cater to our customers based on their language preference as well.”