Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, both digital-service use and the digital market have grown rapidly in Southeast Asia. According to the e-Conomy SEA 2021 Report by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company, there are now 350 million digital consumers in the region (defined as consumers who have made at least one online purchase), a 60 million increase since the pandemic started. In Singapore alone, 97% of Internet users are categorized as digital consumers.
On a retail level, such changes made complete sense. With Working From Home (WFH) mandates and social-distancing protocols in place, we had to adopt more software and digital tools to adjust. From trying newer services such as EdTech and HealthTech platforms to increasing usage of staple services such as e-commerce platforms and payment technologies, the behavioral change towards digital adoption has become a new way of life. 9 out of 10 people who became digital consumers in 2020 continued to make online purchases in 2021, making the current digital market in Southeast Asia larger and permanent.
What does this mean for businesses?
Because consumers have significantly adapted their online behavior and purchases, businesses must also respond to the changing needs and expectations of the market. In short, the accelerated shift towards digital adoption must not only happen on a retail level, but on a business level.
Businesses, especially SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), must adopt technology like never before. SMEs can no longer remain offline. Luckily, there are more digital tools than ever to aid businesses in running their operations and even to scale and thrive. The digital market is an opportunity – if SMEs can access it.
A crucial component for SMEs to adopt is digital financial services.
Digital Financial Services for Micro and Small Businesses
Digital financial services encompass several categories of products, including remittance, lending, and payments – with digital payments experiencing the highest usage increase. In a world becoming less cash-oriented by the day, digital transactions would likely become the norm. Yet, while mobile banking apps and e-wallets would be sufficient for individual customers, what about SMEs processing their business expenses? What would be the ideal digital payment service for the sector?
As the digital market grows, more SMEs are procuring their supplies from digital platforms – especially businesses in the retail, F&B, and e-commerce sectors. SMEs are often left frustrated with insufficient or tight payment terms from traditional suppliers.
Most SMEs in Singapore also lack a corporate credit line. To compensate, owners and directors would use personal credit cards to process online expenses and transactions. Substituting company accounts with personal credit cards is inconvenient and the limits of personal cards are often insufficient for larger-scale purchases.
Having a digital corporate card or credit line would not only make operations and supplier payments more efficient and convenient, it would also enable SMEs to extend their account payable dates. Yet paradoxically, it is difficult for SMEs to successfully apply for a corporate credit line facility. Most SMEs do not meet the requirements of traditional financial institutions. Even if they do, the application process is often long and tedious.
Introducing Elevate, A Virtual Card Tailor-Made for SMEs
To answer the growing appetite for digital financial solutions for SMEs, and as part of our continued commitment to serve Singapore’s SMEs sector, Funding Societies is launching Elevate, a virtual card tailored to suit the needs of local SMEs,.
While Elevate can be used for most online business expenses, it targets the specific problem of digital procurement for SMEs. In our digitized world, a creditworthy small business should have access to a virtual credit line in order to conveniently pay its company expenses. With an easy application process approved swiftly upon 1 business working day, Elevate allows SMEs to adopt digital payments seamlessly and efficiently.
( Powered by Matchmove, in partnership with Mastercard®)
( Fulfilled by FS Capital Pte Ltd)
The Elevate card lasts for 365 days from activation. Each user would be assigned a virtual account and monthly repayments are to be made to the account. Immediately upon approval and activation, you would be able to use the Elevate virtual card.
Your business will be eligible to apply if:
- your enterprise (a) is at least an LLP or a Private Limited, and (b) has been incorporated for at least 6 months
- the Elevate application is filled and completed by at least a Registered Director of the company (who is at least 21 years old).
Applications are processed through Myinfo Business, and our team would respond to your application within 1 business day. In certain cases, we would reach out to you for more information or documents.
Our world is now reliant on digital services. Businesses, no matter how small, must adapt in order to survive and thrive. From establishing a strong online presence to creating a solid digital financial system, a strong foundation would help SMEs tap into the burgeoning digital market. Along the way, Funding Societies hopes to support and boost your business journey.
Interested in what Elevate can offer your business? Visit us to find out more!