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PAYMENTS NETWORK MALAYSIA HOSTS INAUGURAL PAYNET DIGITAL PAYMENTS WEEK 2023

Malaysia

PayNet Digital Payments Week 2023 (PDPW), a week-long digital payment industry event that happened between May 24-29, 2023.

PDPW was PayNet’s first event that brought together payment-focused experts, investors, startups, and academia to talk about everything digital payments.

Its aim was to converge Malaysia’s digital payments ecosystem with that of those from the international scene through the latest insights, opportunities, and global trends that reshaped Malaysia’s digital payment landscape.

Speakers at PDPW included PayNet’s Group CEO, Farhan Ahmad, along with various senior regulators and leaders in state governments, large banks, digital banking, e-wallets, and accelerators.

Speakers at PDPW included PayNet Group

On May 27, the 24-hour hackathon was initiated at the Asia School of Business in Kuala Lumpur, attracting 440 participants.

A total of 220 participants were selected to showcase their talents, representing 50 teams consisting of three to five individuals.

The competition involved university students, working professionals, freelancers, and startup teams who were given the task of developing solutions that could accelerate Malaysia’s digital payments ecosystem.

PayHack 2023 revolved around four key challenges:

  1. Security and fraud: Address security issues related to e-KYC, secured authentication, identity theft, payment fraud, e-payment security, or the like
  2. Efficiency: Optimise the performance of digital payments via automation or technological improvements, or better use of human capital
  3. Sustainability: Contribute towards environmental conservation or any of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 through the digital payments space
  4. Financial inclusion: Expand access of e-payment services in underserved areas or communities

These teams had to present their working prototypes to a panel of esteemed judges, with each team being given only five minutes to demonstrate their ideas.

The judges included:

  • Farhan Ahmad, Group Chief Executive Officer at PayNet
  • Teh Lip Guan, Chief Technology Officer at PayNet
  • Gary Yeoh, Chief Commercial Officer at PayNet
  • Ruslena Ramli, Director, Digital Finance and Islamic Digital Economy at Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)
  • Karen Puah, Advisory Board at Fintech Association of Malaysia (FAOM)

Team Make1tFeature, which undertook the fourth challenge on financial inclusion, presented their solution called EveryPay. Their aim was to assist senior citizens in adopting digital payments, particularly those who feel intimidated by the constant advancements in technology.

Make1tFeature explained that individuals who are not digitally literate can easily become overwhelmed when using payment apps due to the multitude of features presented on the user interface.

“They often feel uncertain about which functions to click on and may fear making a mistake that could result in accidentally transferring out all their money in an instant,” elaborated the team.

Make1tFeature presenting their prototype, EveryPay at the PayHack 2023 finals

Furthermore, the prevalence of fraud and scam cases in the news adds to the apprehension felt by individuals, reinforcing their concerns about embracing e-payment technologies.

To address these challenges, Make1tFeature proposed the creation of a compressed or “lite” version of digital payment apps. This streamlined version would reduce the number of available functions, focusing only on essential features such as reloads and payments.

“With fewer steps required to complete a transaction, there will be fewer opportunities for users to make mistakes. The simplified app will be more accessible to them, increasing the likelihood of adoption,” explained the team.

Additionally, they proposed implementing a guardian system where the children of elderly users can link their accounts and oversee all transactions. The guardian would receive notifications whenever their dependent parent makes payments or reloads.

“It’s similar to parental controls, but reversed,” the team remarked.

With the guardian’s ability to monitor their parent’s transactions, they can also flag any suspicious activity occurring in their dependent’s accounts.

Through EveryPay, the older generation can confidently embrace digital payments, knowing that their children are watching over them from a distance.

The Make1tFeature team emerged as the champions for their innovative solution, earning them a cash prize of RM20,000.

The first and second runners-up addressed the second challenge on efficiency and the challenge of financial inclusivity, respectively.

Securing second place was Team Say with their solution called Snap N Go, which earned them a prize of RM15,000.

Snap N Go is an application that enables shoppers to scan products in a grocery store. The app provides price comparisons of similar items based on their per-gram costs and even provides information on caloric count.

Team Say presenting their solution, Snap N Go

Customers can conveniently add these items to their digital and physical carts using the app and proceed to checkout, making payments without the need to wait in line at the cashier.

In third place was Holy Pandas, who received a prize of RM5,000 for their solution aimed at assisting individuals with limited digital literacy in navigating payments. They introduced an AI voice assistant called FixerPay to provide guidance and support throughout the payment process.

Holy Pandas sharing about their coded solution

FixerPay can be likened to an Alexa-like virtual assistant designed to handle various functions within an e-wallet, such as requesting a refund from Grab.

By leveraging the capabilities of ChatGPT’s free API, this language model streamlines the process of executing tasks on an app that may pose challenges for certain users, such as elderly parents, by simplifying the required steps.

Apart from the three winning teams, the seven remaining teams that reached the finals were awarded a consolation prize of RM1,000 each.

The judges of PayHack 2023 were ultimately impressed with the winning teams’ adeptness in utilizing existing solutions and technologies available in the market to develop complementary solutions.

Following the hackathon, the participating teams have acquired invaluable insights into the potential opportunities their working prototypes could offer to society.

If they decide to further develop their ideas into actual applications and services in the future, the digital payments market in Malaysia may witness the emergence of the solutions that originated from this hackathon.

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