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Affordable Access to Digitalisation: Financial Inclusion for MSMEs

Is financial inclusion for MSMEs thriving in Southeast Asia, or are they still stinging from limited access? What are the digits or statistics showing MSMEs are getting their fair share of the financial love and support they deserve?

High five, Southeast Asia! Among 42 global markets, 4 Southeast Asian countries (Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia) excelled in the 2023 Global Financial Inclusion Index. All four countries have secured top 20 positions, with Singapore leading the pack. Thailand was at a solid 10th place, Vietnam closed at 17th, and Malaysia occupied 18th.

Source: 2023 & 2022 Global Financial Inclusion Index, Principal Financial Group

So, how did SEA-4 countries climb the mountain of financial inclusion? There are three distinct ‘‘phases’’ each country goes through (refer to the image below) under three different pillars of financial inclusion. Each phase reflects how mature the market economy is and how the citizens interact with financial institutions.

The results also show that:

  • Malaysia & Vietnam are still building their financial inclusion muscles, currently in Phase 1 → Phase 2 with plenty of room for growth.
  • Thailand is a higher achiever and advances from Phase 2 → Phase 3.

Singapore has aced all 3 phases and is now tapping into a new level of financial inclusion with its unique approach. What could that be?

Source: ICMR Research 2023

Challenges and Potential Solutions to Digital Financial Inclusion for MSMEs

Although Southeast Asian countries have made strides in financial inclusion based on the global index, smaller-scale MSMEs are still facing hurdles when fully embracing digital financial services. 

1. Limited Access to Affordable Digital Payment Solutions

Traditional payment terminal providers often have high upfront costs and long-term contracts, primarily catering to larger businesses. This leaves micro-merchants with limited options for affordable digital payment solutions due to restricted capital or fluctuating incomes, hindering financial inclusion for MSMEs.

Solution: FinTech companies like Qashier are stepping in with more accessible options. The pricing structures are competitive, with lower upfront costs and flexible payment options, making acquiring a terminal a realistic possibility for MSMEs’ needs. Scroll to the bottom to find your MSME business needs.

2. Financial Literacy and Digital Divide

Many MSME owners lack the necessary digital literacy skills to manage businesses remotely, access online training resources, or navigate government support programs offered online. Their limitations hinder them from leveraging the benefits of digitalisation.

Meanwhile, the upfront costs of hardware, software, and potentially internet upgrades can be a significant financial barrier for rural MSMEs. Many are hesitant with digital tools without a clear understanding of the return on investment.

3. Regulatory Hurdles and Informal Business Practices

Navigating the complex regulations surrounding financial services often discourages micro-merchants from exploring alternative financing options or delaying access to essential financial services. This poses a barrier to financial inclusion for MSMEs. Moreover, micro merchants operating in the informal sector face difficulties meeting the formal requirements of traditional financial institutions.

4. Limited Access to Alternative Financing Options

It is challenging for MSMEs to obtain financing for equipment upgrades or working capital since many microbusinesses operate informally and lack credit history and formal documentation for loans. Meanwhile, there are market-based financing options aimed at business expansion, but MSMEs under-utilise them. Viable financing solutions include fintech peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and crowdfunding. 

Power Up Your MSMEs Business with Qashier

Are you feeling left behind in the digital age? Stop wondering, ‘Where do I get a reliable payment terminal?’ Many merchants, like you, face limited choices when accepting digital payments, hindering financial inclusion for MSMEs. Qashier is here to be your financial shinobi, helping smaller-scale businesses to bridge the digital gap.

QashierXS Smart Terminal 

QashierXS (under 500 grams) is an ultra-portable POS terminal that packs a punch. This full-function system is the key to your mobile business freedom. 

  • You can sell from anywhere – pop-up events or straight to your customer’s location.
  • QashierPay lets you accept all the payment methods your customer loves – credit/debit cards, popular e-wallets, pay-by-link options, and QR payments. 
  • Built-in e-invoicing lets your business issue digital receipts instantly, and keeps your sales records organised.

Not Keen on Waiting for Bank Approval?  

Qashier ditches the banking red tape and gets you set up to accept payments faster. You get a super-easy signup process without any paperwork, and skip the wait with a quick digital application. 

Qashier Support Package: Your Partner in Digital Success

Go Digital Together! Transitioning your business digitally can be more than a solo mission. Qashier is your MSMEs business digital partner with a comprehensive support package, helping you to dominate the cashless world (no matter where you are in Singapore or Malaysia).

Qashier Support Package is not a box of software, and here is what’s for you:

  • Have A-Z Questions to Clarify? Sure, we have the Answers! Our friendly trilingual support team is just a call or message away, ready to guide you through any digital concerns.
  • Level Up Your Skills: You get full access to exclusive training materials and resources online and learn all the ins and outs to maximise the features while taking your business to the next level.
  • Stay Ahead Digitally: The digital payments world changes fast. Qashier helps you stay ahead of the curve with ongoing industry insights and updates. Even with all the twists and turns, your business is always compliant and competitive.

Ready to take your MSMEs digital success? Get started with the Qashier Support Package OR sign up for your QashierXS terminal today! 

More about Qashier

Qashier offers multiple digital solutions, including QR code table ordering, table management (F&B), employee management, customer relationship management (loyalty programs), inventory management, data analytics, and cashless payments, in an all-in-one device.

Qashier promises a seamless setup within 10 minutes, without the need for technical expertise. It boasts a user-friendly interface that is simple for anyone to learn and use. If you require assistance, you’ll find 7 days-a-week responsive technical support from your local team.

Try the Qashier app for free on your own Android device! Alternatively, you can speak to us to see how Qashier can meet your business needs. Schedule a meeting with us here, call us at (+65) 3165 0155, WhatsApp (+65) 8887 7687, or email [email protected]

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