Riding the cashless wave: Public embraces mobile payments at MSME Festival

by Haadi Bakar
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Scan, pay, confirm.

Those three steps were all it took when you purchase from a vendor at the recent MSME Festival at Bridex in Jerudong.

Nearly half of these vendors at the Festival placed QR codes on their counters, and customers simply scanned those codes with their smartphones to make a quick transaction. No cash boxes or POS systems needed.

This peer-to-peer mobile payment solution is called QuickPay, one of the few services introduced by Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) under its digital banking initative NEXGEN.

QuickPay requires a mobile wallet supplied by BIBD for its account holders. Alternately, those without a BIBD account can use Progresif’s mobile wallet, Progresif Pay, to do QuickPay payments.

Unlike a typical expo in Brunei where cash is usually transacted, the MSME Festival was the first to deploy mobile payment solutions to its vendors, through a collaboration with BIBD, in a bid to encourage the public to go cashless.

Powered by BIBD NEXGEN, the Progresif Pay mobile wallet can be used without a BIBD account and is open to any phone number.

“I think it’s a great initiative to get Bruneians to familiarise themselves with mobile payments, so that when all businesses in the country go cashless, everyone will be ready for it,” said Saiful Zamhor, founder of Visual Pro photography services, who was an exhibitor at the MSME Festival.

For consumers in Brunei, these initiatives greatly increase convenience.

“I can skip the ATMs and just use my phone to pay,” said Amirul Adli, a visitor at the MSME festival.

“It also automatically records all my purchases, so I can see what I’ve been spending my money on,” he added.

Advantages for small businesses

Businesses signing onto QuickPay must have a corporate account with BIBD, which now requires an opening and minimum balance of $50. The standard vendor commission fee for QuickPay transactions is 2%, though this was waivered exclusively during the MSME Festival.

With QuickPay, small-scale businesses can take part in the global trend of cashless payments, as the system is cost-effective, easy to use and also help streamline their accounting processes.

“It definitely keeps us on track with payments. We receive email and SMS notifications everytime we get a transaction, so that really helps us,” said Md Fakhri of Top Folk foodtruck, one of the vendors at the expo.

Another merchant, Halizah Hj Lamit, praised BIBD QuickPay for its efficiency.

“It saves us a lot of time. Customers don’t have to worry about loose change or if they are few dollars short,” said Halizah, the proprietor of Oliz Onigiri Takoyaki.

QuickPay is just a taste of what’s to come from BIBD’s suite of NEXGEN mobile payment ecosystem. The bank is also rolling out BIBD Wave, a contactless payment system that takes full advantage of the mobile phones’ NFC chip – customers simply wave their phone on an NFC reader to make payments.

In the coming years, these mobile payment systems will be deployed to even more business establishments and services in Brunei, including supermarkets, public service counters, parking ticket booths, public transportation, vending machines and possibly petrol stations.

The ultimate goal of BIBD’s digital banking initiative is to accelerate financial inclusion in Brunei, whereby everyone will have access to banking services using breakthrough mobile technologies.

And as the digital economy looms ahead, NEXGEN also aims to support the national drive towards a cashless society.

Organised by DARe, the MSME Festival was the biggest showcase of local brands in the country, ranging from food and beverages to cosmetics to fashion. Over 200 local businesses took part.

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