AGROBANK DRIVES DIGITALISATION IN RURAL VILLAGES


Safiee (in purple, centre), with Tengku Ahmad Badli on his right and others at the launching of the programme. ‘This is a good programme as it will encourage businesses to conduct cashless transactions using QR code,’ he says.

DARO (Sarawak): Agrobank launched its cashless community here on Oct 10 in a move to create cashless transactions among local community and rural traders.

For traders, money from daily business will be deposited directly into the account and they can check their account via online.

This facility also helps them monitor their financial records and have better organised account management.

Sarimah (right) and Mastiah showing Agrobank QR code, which they say eases their business transactions.Sarimah (right) and Mastiah showing Agrobank QR code, which they say eases their business transactions.

Petty trader Sarimah Rajli is one of the traders who has made a bold move in going digital.

Since using the Agrobank cashless initiative via QR code two months ago, she has been experiencing better sales than previously.

The public now only need to scan the QR code using smartphones when making purchases at participating merchants.

Wide acceptance

“When I was introduced by the bank staff to sign up for the cashless system two months ago, I immediately jumped on it as I knew of the immense benefits that it will do for my business,” remarked Sarimah, 61.

She and friend Mastiah Rajli, 52, have been selling homemade cookies and crackers for more than 10 years now.

“Going cashless was something new to me but in a short period of time, I am already well-versed in using it now as it is easy to operate the system.

“Also, I don’t have to carry a lot of money like previously to prepare for small change to my customers,” she added.

She shared that her customers are also finding it very convenient when using the AgroBank cashless system.

“Customers only need to download the application and sign up to the system to enjoy this cashless payment,” she said.

Vegetable seller, Rosidah Abdul Kadir, 36, also gave a thumbs-up to the AgroBank cashless initiative.

Rosidah could check her daily sales as all transactions are in her account.Rosidah could check her daily sales as all transactions are in her account.

“I have been in business for 16 years and I can vouch to you that this cashless system brings a world of good to me,” she said.

“Gone are the days when I had to especially have large amounts of cash and coins as change to my customers.

“When customers pay for their purchase using the system, it can be shown immediately in my bank account.

“At the end of the day, I can also easily do quick accounting of the transactions as all payments appear in my account,” she said.

Rosidah, however, hoped that the authority would improve Internet connectivity in Daro.

“In some areas, the Internet line is either slow or non-existent. In order to promote the cashless system, we need good internet coverage,” she emphasised.

Nursyakira (left) found it easier to conduct her business using digital payments.Nursyakira (left) found it easier to conduct her business using digital payments.

Biscuit seller Nursyakira Amira Seman, 26, commended AgroBank’s cashless initiative.

“Agrobank is the only bank serving the Daro community.

“I want to thank the bank for introducing this cashless system to us,” she said.

“Doing business is now made much more convenient and easier with this system as we can now receive payment from customers via the QR code.”

Previously, she used to worry how to give back the change to her customers as it is difficult to stock up enough cash and coins, considering that there is only one ATM machine there.

Hipni uses digital payment for his purchases, which he says saves a lot of time.Hipni uses digital payment for his purchases, which he says saves a lot of time.

Awang Hipni Awang Salleh, 56, said he is saving a lot of time queuing up to withdraw money via ATM machine after going cashless.

“When I make a purchase, I only need to scan the QR code to make payment.

“I have cut down on going to the bank now to withdraw money,” said Hipni, a business trainer at Daro Giat Mara.

Hipni also finds the cashless system much safer to use than cash as it has all the safety features.

Beneficial upgrade

Agrobank president and chief executive officer Datuk Tengku Ahmad Badli Shah Raja Hussin said that the initiative aims to increase exposure to traders and residents to do digital payment transactions that are cashless through DuitNow in addition to fostering easier, faster and safer payment activities.

“Agrobank believes that with the existence of this cashless facility, it will be a solution to the problem of the local population who for many years have been facing the problem of shortage of ATM machines in the surrounding area,” he said.

“This initiative will be able to benefit more than 5,000 people in Daro.”

In addition, he said this cashless initiative will benefit merchants with more efficient financial management, business development opportunities, diversification of payment options, as well as more effective inventory management.

The programme also aims to foster good relationships with the interior villagers by offering Agrobank business opportunities and services to rural residents.

Daro assemblyman Safiee Ahmad, who launched the Daro Cashless Community initiative on Oct 11, said the programme was timely for outskirt towns, like Daro, which lack financial facilities.

“I, on behalf of the Daro community, wish to thank Agrobank and Bank Negara for selecting Daro in launching this initiative, which is timely and a very much welcome one,” he said.

The cashless initiative using Agrobank QR code, he asserted, would solve congestion at the bank as people withdraw money for their use.

“I have been receiving many complaints from the locals who said that they have to queue for hours to withdraw money from the ATM especially during the month end.

“At one time, Agrobank staff had to put up chairs for people waiting for their turn,” he recalled.

The Daro community, he said, felt bertuah (lucky) as their business could prosper with this facility.

“This is a good programme as it will encourage businesses to conduct cashless transactions using QR code.

“At the end of the day or month, they can easily know their sales volume as all payments received are recorded in their account,” he added.

Cashless progress

Touching on Internet connectivity, he said plans are afoot to extend the coverage to outlying areas so that residents would no longer need to venture to the town for online transactions.

Bank Negara deputy governor Datuk Marzunisham Omar said the good response from the Daro community to the programme showed that people are receptive toward e-payment.

“The initiative by Agrobank in collaboration with Bank Negara is well-accepted by the people here,” he said.

“Bank Negara together with other financial institutions have been organising campaigns to get the people and businesses to register for e-payment services.

“We have done it in Sibujaya, Selangau, Sarikei and Daro today.”

As for e-payment, Omar said for the whole country last year, a total of RM9.6bil in transactions were recorded.

At the same time, there were 1.7 million businesses using QR code in accepting payment.

“E-payment is not only convenient as it also improves the quality of our life as it enables us to manage our finances better.

“Likewise it also makes businesses more competitive as owners do not have to prepare for small changes,” he added.

Omar also allayed the people’s fear that they might become scam victims when opting for e-payment.

“Do not worry of being scammed as Bank Negara is always ensuring that financial institutions have tight security features for their e-payment system,” he advised.

At the function, Agrobank also handed over mock Cashless Trader canopies to nearly 30 traders to ease their business costs.

At the same time, Safiee also presented a mock cheque for RM15mil to Agrobank, which was received by Ahmad Badli.

The additional sum was from the Sarawak government to the bank for the state’s micro-credit financing.

A mock Zakat Ashaf of RM3,100 presentation also took place at the function.

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