A Payments Workout for Malaysia’s Fitness Industry

Malaysia’s fitness industry is an active one and has seen huge gains in recent times. The rise of boutique studios, gym classes and the introduction of fitness tech platforms has seen Malaysian fitness-enthusiasts spoilt fo r choice. As a result of this, the need to discover differentiating factors has become crucial in order to survive the competition in an increasingly crowded industry.

One of the factors that has, until now, been overlooked relates to flexible membership and payment options for gym members. Now more than ever, consumers are expecting smarter ways to pay that place emphasis on customer experience and relationships. With the proliferation of gyms and fitness studios in Malaysia, players in the industry are now starting to use Curlec’s Direct Debit solution to collect monthly membership fees to address this change in customer behaviour.

So why use Direct Debit to collect membership fees? At Curlec, we believe that customers see value in your overall gym experience, including payments. Using Direct Debit not only helps with that, but it also allows your business to flourish in three main ways:

  1. Reduces Membership and Payment Admin

  2. Gives You Payment Flexibility

  3. Improves Membership Retention

1. Reduces Membership and Payment Admin

Taking payments by cash, cheque or credit cards can be a huge administrative burden that requires plenty of manual work. In contrast, Direct Debit payments puts businesses in control of when they get paid and can be completely automated. You can set up membership plans online instantly so your customers can get started straight away.

Additionally, our easy-to-use portal will keep you updated of exactly who has or hasn’t paid without checking your bank statement. This eases the administrative burden of chasing customers for non-payment, whilst our Instant Pay FPX payment gateway gives your members the opportunity to make one-off transactions through an alternative method. The result of all this, is that you can have peace of mind over your cash flow and focus wholly on developing your business.

Union Strength was an early adopter of the Curlec system and as founder Carlos Villa explains:

“Curlec has enabled us to reduce our cash flow risks and taken away the administration associated with payment collection. This means that we can focus on what we do best – helping our members meet their fitness goals.”
2. Gives You Payment Flexibility

Occasionally, your members may want to change their membership plan or make inconsistent payments to suit their training needs. For example, a member may choose to go on a one-month personal training program in addition to their usual membership subscription.

Therein lies the beauty of Direct Debit – it is a payment method that is catered for variable payments. If you take payment by standing order, this will cause difficulties as it is always for a fixed amount and controlled by the customer. This creates unnecessary work for your members and may even lead to members letting their membership lapse. Direct Debit, on the other hand, reduces friction in your business by putting you in control of setting the maximum amount you would need to charge your customers, without the need to request any further authorisation. This flexibility also allows you to charge your customers on a pay as you go basis without needing further authorisation.

3. Improves Membership Retention

Many existing gyms and fitness centres that offer recurring membership payment plans use credit and debit cards, which inherently creates problems. Firstly, card payments are subject to failed transactions due to cards expiring or being cancelled. This leads to a bad customer experience for your members and creates unnecessary work for them to update their payment details. Worst of all, if payment details are not updated, the customer’s membership may just lapse. In contrast to this, Direct Debit payments use a customer’s bank details, which rarely change or expire.

Additionally, when authentication is given for a Direct Debit this serves two purposes: (1) it acts as authorisation for a business to collect payments when they are due and (2) acts as an instruction from a customer to their bank to enable these payments. Payments made via debit/credit cards only enable the first level of authority, thereby subjecting each transaction to the mercy of a bank’s internal risk team. This leads to a greater level of failed payments due to the potential risk of fraud.

Curves were previously subject to these issues caused by credit and debit cards before moving to Direct Debit. Their CEO, Alison Chin, stated the following:

“Changing your payment system can be a daunting task for any business, as you don’t want to disrupt your existing processes and potentially affect your cash flow. The move to Curlec was simple, with their easy to use system and everything explained clearly along the way by their Customer Success team. The support by their Team post implementation has been great too. I would recommend Curlec to any business that operates on a recurring billing model.”

If you would like to find out more about how Curlec can help with your membership payments, check out our dedicated gym page here.


Curlec and Funding Societies Launch Partnership to Automate SME Repayments

Kuala Lumpur, 1 August 2018 – Curlec, the payments company simplifying online Direct Debit, is pleased to announce a partnership with Funding Societies, the first and largest peer-to-peer (P2P) financing platform in Malaysia. With this partnership, Funding Societies will become the first Malaysian P2P platform to adopt an online Direct Debit solution. With Curlec’s integrated system, the repayment process for Funding Societies’ SME clients will be automated, thus increasing their customer efficiency and lowering processing times.

With this tie up, Funding Societies’ SME clients can now get rid of cheques and paperwork to process their repayments. Until now, most repayment methods have been administratively intensive exercises that require sizeable teams to manage the process. Curlec’s Direct Debit solution saves costs and reduces operational complexity, resulting in local SMEs benefiting from a hassle-free customer experience when performing monthly repayments.


Zac Liew, Co-Founder and CEO of Curlec, stated that he was delighted to be working with Funding Societies.

“Going forward, Funding Societies will offer Curlec’s Direct Debit solution for SMEs as an additional repayment method, and our Instant Pay FPX payment gateway for investor deposits. It is a great opportunity to collaborate with another local FinTech company that is also committed to supporting SME businesses. Ultimately we share the same goal: to help SMEs currently underserved by existing financial institutions,” said Liew.

Wong Kah Meng, CEO of Funding Societies Malaysia, said that he was proud to be the first P2P financing platform to use an online Direct Debit system for their SME users.

“Curlec’s system offers an option to automate our SMEs repayments. With an efficient and practical process like this, we hope to enhance our customer experience. If they no longer need to process paperwork for every repayment, our users can focus more fully on developing their businesses,” explained Wong.

Funding Societies currently holds the largest domestic market share in terms of crowdfunded amount. The platform holds a 0% default rate – well over a year since it began operations.

“With Curlec’s automation technology, Funding Societies hopes to scale our business faster and more efficiently to achieve our goal of RM50 million in SME financing this year. We want to serve more and more of underserved SMEs who require financing,” added Wong.

For more on the story, read the media coverage on Curlec here and here.



About Curlec

Curlec is a FinTech company that makes it easy for businesses to collect recurring payments. It is a simple solution for collecting Direct Debit payments online, allowing businesses to be in control of when they get paid. Curlec facilitates transactions by intermediating between Buyers, Sellers and their Banks, making Direct Debit available to businesses of all sizes.

The company was founded in 2017 with the vision of providing the Direct Debit payment system to underserved SMEs. Curlec is the first independent software company in Malaysia to process online interbank Direct Debit transactions.

Click here for more information.


About Funding Societies

Launched in early 2017 in Malaysia, Funding Societies is the first and largest P2P financing platform in Malaysia. Funding Societies connects SMEs with investors through an online marketplace, thereby increasing access to financing for SMEs. By investing into SMEs, investors could earn risk-adjusted returns greater than fixed deposits, bonds, and other traditional investment instruments. Meanwhile, SMEs obtain access to short-term financing to expand their business through a fast and simple online process. Additionally, SMEs benefit from not having to provide collateral for financing, while interest costs are minimized due to short financing tenures.


Funding Societies has achieved numerous milestones in its short history, including USD 25 million in Series B funding led by Softbank Ventures Korea and supported by Sequoia India, Alpha JWC and Golden Gate Ventures. Funding Societies also has presence in Singapore and Indonesia (where it is known as Modalku), becoming one of the largest digital financing platforms in the Southeast Asian region. Through its searing growth, Funding Societies remains dedicated to the vision of supporting underserved SMEs and improving societies in Southeast Asia.


For more information about Funding Societies Malaysia, click here.