19/05/2024 05:43 PM

KUCHING, May 19 (Bernama) -- Serikin, a quaint border settlement located about 50 kilometres from the city centre here has become the country's first cashless border market via Merchantrade Asia Sdn Bhd’s digital financial services.

In a statement today, Merchantrade said over 100 merchants at the Serikin weekend border market registered under the e-Duit@Serikin campaign’s initial phase. 

"This collaborative effort between Merchantrade, Bank Negara Malaysia and Payments Network Sdn Bhd (PayNet) was launched in September 2023 to drive digital payments adoption in Sarawak’s rural communities, starting with the Serikin weekend market, and transforming it into the country's first cashless border market," it said.

Nestled along the Indonesia-Malaysia border, the weekend market is a bustling trading ground offering a vast array of Indonesian handicrafts, textiles, batiks, toys, carpets and more; its vibrancy has attracted traders from Kalimantan and tourists from around the world.

The traders adopted Merchantrade Money eWallet as part of the eDuit @ Serikin campaign, enabling visitors to make digital payments via QR codes, which eases instant payments without the hassle of physical cash and currency conversion. 

The campaign was more engaging with cashback incentives and lucky draws which helped communicate the usage of Merchantrade Money DuitNow QR payments. 

Many merchants were excited to adopt the new payment method and competed for the highest transaction volume during the campaign.

Merchantrade managing director Ramasamy K. Veeran said the campaign has shown the impact of inclusive financial services on Serikin's local communities, which aligns with the government’s digital agenda. 

"The digital ecosystem we’ve developed with our innovative Merchantrade Money DuitNow QR solution has facilitated safer, more convenient payments for both merchants and customers.

“We have observed an increase in digital financial literacy and a boost in the local economy of Serikin," he said.

The shift to digital transactions has significantly reduced the risk of cash loss or theft to merchants who often cross international borders for their livelihoods and ensured compliance with the laws of both countries. 

Additionally, merchants can convert their Malaysian ringgit funds into Indonesian rupiah using Merchantrade Money's in-app multi-currency conversion feature when they return to Indonesia.

Sarawak Deputy Minister for Transport (Riverine and Marine) Datuk Henry Harry Jinep, also Tasik Biru state assemblyman covering Serikin, stressed the importance of digital payments for rural growth. 

"Embracing digital payments is crucial to accelerate digital financial literacy among developing communities like Serikin throughout Malaysia," he said in the statement.

The success of the campaign underscores the power of collaboration, innovation and transformation, bridging the digital divide and empowering local communities with the tools, knowledge, and support for seamless adoption of digital financial services. 

Merchantrade and its collaborators aim to replicate the success at Serikin and champion digital financial inclusion for more rural and underserved communities across Malaysia.