Tech: Versa paves the way for sound financial needs
Malaysia’s latest digital cash management platform Versa has announced that it has achieved over RM10million 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 one to two per cent 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.
This encourages consumers to look for alternatives to meet their respective financial needs – this is where Versa aims to fulfil the pain points faced by customers in their savings journey.
Starting with just RM1, investors will be able to earn daily interest of up to 2.4 per cent per annum.
Unlike fixed deposits, investors can withdraw their deposits without having to wait for the fund to mature.
This provides for 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, an RM2bil-sized money market funds (MMF) that have achieved 66 per cent 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.
A survey conducted by Versa among Malaysians revealed that adoption of digital financial solutions remained low.
Of 3,000 respondents, only six per cent utilised digital investment and saving apps while over 30 per cent 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’s Chief Executive Officer Teoh Wei-Xiang said that Versa, which was born out of a necessity for emergency funds, and address the various needs of Malaysians as highlighted in the survey especially financial health is vital.
“Versa was created to solve a personal problem statement – I had to break my fixed deposits several times to meet emergency situations.
“As such, we are promoting a new way for users to manage their spare cash. In such unpredictable times, the ability to invest and also have cash on hand when the time calls for it is extremely important.
“With 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,” he said.
Teoh added that their partnership with Affin Hwang Asset Management, which has a longstanding history of asset management will help Malaysians to invest smartly.
At the official launch of the app, Versa further reiterated the importance of a financially savvy society through a panel discussion between Teoh, AHAM Managing Director Datuk Teng Chee Wai, Ringgit Plus Chief Executive Officer Hann Liew and UNCDF Digital Financial Services Expert Sandeep Kumar, moderated by Audrey Misquith from UNCDF.
“With interest rates expected to stay lower-for-longer, the search for yield will be on the top of mind of every investor.
“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,” added Affin Hwang Asset Management managing director Datuk Teng Chee Wai.
“This partnership with Versa is in line with our very own digitalisation efforts at Affin Hwang Asset Management, where we seek to introduce solutions into the market that will revolutionise the way Malaysians view investing now and in the future. With just a few taps on their screens, investors can invest, withdraw and monitor their portfolio through a seamless investing experience. We are constantly seeking new ways to create opportunities for our customers to maximise the potential of their assets, and we look forward to impacting their lives for the better with collaborations such as this,” Affin Hwang Asset Management, chief innovation officer Allen Woo said.
Versa is currently available for download from the Apple Appstore or Google Play Store.