It offers customers a flexible alternative to fixed deposits, and its results are indicative of strong appetite among Malaysians for low-risk option for their cash requirements.
Versa, Malaysia’s latest digital cash management platform, has secured over RM10 mil in deposits in just three months since its soft launch in January. To date, Versa has registered more than 4,000 accounts averaging deposit amounts of RM2,700 per user.
The current low interest rate environment is leading to greater customer demand for better solutions that can meet their financial needs. With a low average 12-month interest rate of 1-2% and a lack of flexibility in depositing and withdrawing funds, many may find it challenging to commit to fixed deposit offerings.
Other barriers also include unattractive lock-in periods, high minimum requirements to get started and concerns about high risks while doing so. With Versa, investors can invest with as little as RM1, and will be able to earn daily interest of up to 2.4% per annum. Unlike fixed-deposits, investors can also withdraw their deposits without having to wait for the fund to mature, providing a low-risk environment for its users to have surplus cash when necessary. Versa does not charge sales charges, transfer nor exit fees.
Versa, supported by UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)’s Finlab programme, offers Malaysians a convenient, flexible, and fuss-free solution to manage and grow their money. In collaboration with Affin Hwang Asset Management (AHAM), Versa enables Malaysians to invest in Affin Hwang Enhanced Deposit Fund, a RM2 bil money market fund (MMF) that has achieved 66% in returns since its inception in April 2005.
The fund aims to provide users with returns guided by the fixed deposit rate of Malaysia, which makes it an attractive tool for cash management and savings. To date, Versa, through its partnership with AHAM has overtaken multiple market money funds in terms of net assets.
“With interest rates expected to stay lower-for-longer, the search for yield will be on the top of mind of every investor,” said Dato Teng Chee Wai, managing director of Affin Hwang Asset Management.
“Through our partnership with Versa, we are proud to bring a new solution to the market to help investors diversify and maximise the potential of their cash reserves without sacrificing liquidity.”
Digital Financial Apps Still Largely Untapped
A survey conducted by Versa among Malaysians revealed that adoption for digital financial solutions remained low. From 3,000 respondents, only 6% utilised digital investment and saving apps while over 30% did not use any digital financial apps at all. Among those who did, a majority were more comfortable with using traditional banking apps, followed by e-wallets.
When choosing a digital saving app, the top factors in their selection were convenience, ease of cash withdrawal and trustworthiness. For the latter, respondents considered information and professional advice from banks to be a top priority, followed by friends and family.
“Versa was created to solve a personal problem statement,” said Teoh Wei-Xiang, CEO of Versa.
“We want to encourage the general Malaysian public to understand the benefit of MMF in our current situation – be it the stability, liquidity or security that it offers, they will be able to rest assured knowing that they will be well taken care of with Versa. Our partnership with Affin Hwang Asset Management, who has a longstanding history of asset management will help us to help Malaysians to invest smart, and do it well,” he added.