With about nine in 10 Malaysians concerned over the rising cost of living, primarily for food, household utilities, and fuel, the local consumer behaviour has shifted as Malaysians tighten their belts and purse strings. This presents a challenge for businesses and the retail sector, due to consumers having less purchasing power.

Consequently, this shift in consumer behaviour gave rise to the adoption of digital solutions nationwide, such as digital payments, e-commerce, and digital government initiatives. In fact, digital transactions per capita has more than quadrupled around the past decade or so. This is largely due to fintech solutions facilitating faster, cheaper, more transparent, and more user-friendly financial services, which empowers consumers with the tools to attain financial independence.

Within a controlled environment, where fintech players work in close consultation with regulators, fintech solutions can help consumers adapt to the rising cost of living sustainably, and have greater flexibility to manage their expenses.

Industry research also found that increase in access and use of fintech solutions can help households out of poverty. Hence, businesses that successfully incorporate fintech solutions responsibly into their business strategy will be able to capture the rising digital demand.

To help businesses stay ahead of the curve, we reached out to a leading regional fintech player in Southeast Asia, Boost. When it comes to the matter at hand, there’s no better expert than Ungku Liza, the CEO of Boost Life, Boost’s all-in-one fintech app.

Having been one of the earliest pioneers of the QR Scan and Pay feature in Malaysia, today the Boost app empowers over 10 million consumers nationwide to embrace cashless transactions with online bill payments, shopping, and more.

Lighten Financial Burdens

Considering that half of Malaysians are taking on a second source of income to make ends meet, businesses need to help consumers save time, in addition to money. By leveraging fintech solutions, businesses can provide seamless and convenient digital experiences for consumers.

Ungku Liza said: “Through our market survey, we have validated that Malaysians are looking for ways to simplify their life. Over 30% of respondents have been struggling to keep track of bill amounts and due dates, on top of all their other responsibilities in life. Furthermore, nearly 70% are helping to manage bills for dependents, resulting in many wishing to pay multiple bills at once.”

“Seeing a gap in the market, we pioneered Malaysia’s most comprehensive bill management and payment feature, BoostBills, on our app. BoostBills is an award-winning feature that uniquely offers a consolidated dashboard to track all outstanding bill amounts and due dates, across over 50 billers, for real-time updates.

“BoostBills provides an option to pay multiple bills at once and set automated recurring payments. We also offer syariah-compliant Boost PayLater function for those looking for flexible payments, and so much more,” said Ungku Liza.

“These features help our consumers and customers of our business partners, lighten their financial burden and mental load, while also saving tremendous amount of time and effort. Hence, it is no surprise that BoostBills saw a 20% revenue growth year-on-year as of 2022,” she added.

As a responsible fintech player, Boost has been able to offer its fintech solutions in a sustainable manner, despite the backdrop of tough macroeconomic conditions. For instance, even with multi-million-ringgit credit disbursed through Boost PayLater, the fintech player has maintained a healthy single-digit non-performing loan rate.

Increasing Purchasing Power

According to market research, over 40% of Malaysians are cutting back on non-essential spending and placing a greater emphasis on savings.

Sharing her thoughts on this, Ungku Liza stated that: “In the current economic climate where majority of consumers are more cost-conscious, businesses should help them stretch their ringgit and make every transaction count.”

This rings true as more than 80% of Malaysians stated that they prefer to shop for products from stores that offer loyalty rewards. Ungku Liza added that: “However, it needs to be more than just various businesses offering their own respective one-time discount or seasonal promotion.

“To cut through the noise, businesses need to offer a comprehensive and always-on loyalty programme that’s sustainable in the long term without constantly burning cash.”

Fintech apps like Boost, for example, can address this challenge as it has an award-winning BoostUP Loyalty Programme. Consumers can earn Boost Stars with every ringgit spent at any of its over half a million merchant touchpoints nationwide.

Through the accumulated Boost Stars, consumers can redeem free gifts, discount vouchers, and more on the BoostUP Rewards Catalogue all year round – making Boost Stars as good as cash.

Ungku Liza shared that: “With Boost, consumers who earned Boost Stars by paying for their household bills and daily essentials, are more inclined to use their Boost Stars to redeem discounts for greater expendable income when shopping online for clothes or other indulgences.”

In short, businesses that adopt fintech solutions, which help address consumer pain points in the current economic climate, will be able to capture the rising digital demand.

Ungku Liza said: “Success in the digital economy isn’t just about keeping up with consumer trends, but also about leveraging technology to reach new heights.

At Boost, our full spectrum fintech ecosystem that spans across our Boost app, merchant solutions, AI-based lending business, and cross-border payment platform continuously helps pave the way for our consumers and merchants to become unstoppable.”


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