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Why You Should Be Billing Your Customers On A Recurring Basis

From fresh flowers to coffee machines and yes even cars, recurring billing has come a long way from its traditional use cases of utilities and rent.

At the heart of it lies a shift in consumer buying habits. Hunting for overall experience, rather than just product. Becoming a user, but not necessarily an owner. 

More and more consumers demand flexibility and customizability, from the way they pay to the way they are able to access the service or product at hand.

So why should you as a Malaysian business owner, give ear to this rising trend in recurring payments?

Let’s talk about why you should be billing your customers on a recurring basis. 

What are included in recurring payments?

In our previous article on recurring vs one-off payments, we defined recurring payments as transactions that are made repeatedly and periodically over a certain schedule. 

These include:

  • Subscriptions (Netflix, subscription boxes, mobile plans, gym memberships).
  • Instalment plans (loans, mortgage, and services such as MrPayLater or RiiPay, which enable you to split up the price of a purchase into instalments).

Top 5 benefits of recurring payments for businesses

1.   Knowing your due payments helps to better predict revenue

If you won a million dollars, would you prefer to receive it all one go, or split into a hundred thousand over 10 months?

The same analogy can be applied to your business too. A recurring billing model will provide concrete figures you know you can bank on within a certain timeframe. With traditional models, you’re left in the dark for the majority of the time outside of mere forecasts and estimates.

While you’re not receiving the entire sum at a single go, the spread-out payments does give you some reassurance for the months to come – even when you get hit by unexpected dips. This means that you, as the business owner will obtain better cost management over your business operations, as well as a healthier cash flow overall. 

2.   Grow better long-term relationships with customers and watch it flourish

Collecting recurring payments from your customers is a surefire way to foster a more valuable relationship with your customer. Granted, that relationship may or may not be mandated by contract (e.g. instalment payments for a computer), but on your end, you have a fixed term in which you get to “prove yourself” to the customer.

By offering recurring payments, you lower the affordability barrier for customers to try out your service or product. As they come to the end of the term, whether or not they choose to renew depends on how you’ve nurtured the customer relationship (among other things).

Take for example a customer who signs up for a 6-month contract for a software product. 

Throughout that term, all the interactions and engagements the customer experiences both with the software and the company come together to form an enriching and memorable experience for the customer. 

3.   Snip, snip! Cut down on administrative costs and time.

With recurring payments, you can minimise the legwork involved with traditional payments. For your business, that might mean addressing invoices (then following up endlessly) or always having to keep up to date with due payments.

This eats away at everyone’s time and piles unnecessary numbers onto the operation costs. 

Given the right software, the initial set-up can be as simple as a registration form messaged to the customer to fill up on their own accord. The system can then automatically receive the payments, process them and track them all at a glance.

Cutting out the time, costs and energy associated with debt collection ultimately frees up more time to do work that matters. 

4.   Consumers prioritise flexibility. Give them that!

One of the strongest pros synonymous with recurring billing is its customizability. The power of personalisation is more prominent than ever, yet not something many businesses are able to provide. 

Recurring billing doesn’t always have to be so rigid. If need be and customers request, payment softwares like Curlec enable you to customise the billing amount, date and frequency to a T.  Sounds messy? The system keeps track of it so you don’t have to. 

5.   Expand your reach by opening up more payment opportunities

From the standpoint of customer reach, do you think lowering your service/product’s price point could be beneficial?

By offering recurring billing as an option, you open up more avenues for customers to access what you’re offering. On the customers’ end, the promise of flexibility, affordability and less upfront commitment are attractive regardless of what the product/service is.

Appealing to a wider audience doesn’t mean you have to switch up your billing processes completely. Of course, bombarding your customers with every payment option under the sun makes no sense for both you and the customers, but you would benefit from a payment software which enables you to do more than just one thing.

 

Make recurring payments work for you with Curlec

At Curlec, we like to think we’re a payment software built for recurring paymentsminus the rigidity, plus all the customisability you need.

Curlec enables businesses to collect payments from customers’ bank accounts and debit/credit cards – either on a recurring basis or one-off.

After the initial set-up, the entire process is hands off, both for you and the customer. 

Interested to explore recurring billing for your business? Get in touch with us via the form below to find out more! 

 

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Payment Trends On The Horizon For 2021

We get it – having to stay afloat as a business during downturns like this is a feat in itself, what more having to stay on top of your payment game.

As we find ourselves easing into 2021, we’ve compiled four payment trends we expect to see in Malaysia’s payments landscape for the year ahead – so you can stay in the know even while you focus on running your business.

2021 payment trends in Malaysia

  • Further decline in cash usage

It’s 2021, and surely by now most Malaysians are clear on our dreams for a cashless future.

But what does that look like in numbers? Here’s how we’re faring so far according to Bank Negara’s indicators of a cashless society.

Cashless indicators200620102019
e-Payment transactions (per person)2944149.5
Debit card transactions (per person)0.20.611.4

So when the question of whether or not we’re still en route towards our cashless dream is posed, the answer is a big, resounding, yes!

For something closer to home, it goes without saying that the pandemic has been a huge catalyst to digital payments too. 

For Curlec, our role in this cashless movement began even before our inception, starting from when we built the Direct Debit processing system which is currently being used by all participating banks with Direct Debit in Malaysia. 

And as the volume of FPX, Direct Debit and internet banking transactions continues to rise in 2020, we don’t expect cash to stop fading into the background anytime soon. 

 

  • Subscriptions and recurring payments

Helping SMEs process recurring payments has always been the name of the game for us at Curlec. Be it rental collections or school fees, automating the process makes life easier for all parties involved. 

On one hand, merchants can cut down on time spent chasing down late payments. On the other, consumers don’t have to keep up with making their monthly payments manually.

According to EY, 38.8% of their webcast participants listed adoption of alternative payment methods as the biggest positive outcome from the COVID-19 payments landscape.

So as the impact of the pandemic continues, we can expect recurring payments to carve up even more market as Malaysians look towards more convenient methods for the payments they’re already making on a regular basis.

 

  • Interest-free instalments.

Hoolah, Kaleklik, Riipay, Mr Pay Later…do any of these names ring a bell to you?

These companies are just among a handful in the Buy-Now-Pay-Later sector offering short-term credit to consumers. 

BNPL players like the ones listed above let consumers make big-ticket purchases without having to pay the full fee upfront, nor use their credit card or take out a loan. 

So how do they do it?

These companies typically offer alternative credit solutions by paying for the consumer’s purchase first, then splitting it up into an instalment scheme for the consumer to pay over a short term. 

Consumers flock to this solution for its low regulatory requirements and sometimes even zero interest fees! Earnings are mostly derived from late fees and arrangements with the merchants. 

Curlec ties in by making it easier for merchants to set up instalment plans for their products or services, no matter how small. 

 

  • More efficient payment systems

With so many payment methods, it can be unreasonable for business to be able to cater to all of them. But with consumers expecting their favourite payment methods to be met, how are we to cope?

As the various payments become increasingly consolidated, they become more efficient too.

In other words, instead of having to balance a cash register, petty cash, card terminal machine, merchant e-Wallet apps, online banking, auto/direct debit and all the admin associated with those payments, merchants can have the option of using two or three platforms where they can be managed at a glance.

Corporates too, will be glad to know that this efficiency may also translate to their internal functions. 

For instance, many might associate Curlec as a system that primarily debits from customers’ bank accounts. Some of the new features we’ve rolled out in the previous year however, also include Payouts, where merchants can now send out payment – to stakeholders, for refunds or for payroll etc.

How customers make their transactions are also set to be more efficient too, as in-store and online payment systems are bridged to become a single unified experience.

Curlec’s eMandate form can be used by both online and offline retailers – accessed in store or sent via Whatsapp and email too.

Bringing your customers along the way.

Easily said, but not so easily done. When it comes time to make the switch to digital recurring payments, not all your customers will be happy to hop onboard.

You can ease them in by:

  • letting them know why
  • making it easy for them
  • incentivising the preferred payment option

This 2021, seize the most out of the payment transitions ahead and find out how Curlec can help you make the move towards digital recurring payments. Scroll down to get in touch with us in the form below!

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Curlec’s Year In Review 2020

We’ve all heard that change is the only constant, and that’s never been more true. 2020 has been the most challenging year of the decade for everyone, especially for businesses.

While many had their agility and resilience being put to the test this year, as scaling businesses, the repercussions of the pandemic ultimately teaches businesses of all sizes to do more with less.

And despite the challenges, 2020 has been a real breakthrough for Curlec. Thanks to our outstanding clients and partners, we continue to deliver on our mission to pave for better ways for businesses to transact and take control of their cash flow. Not only are we thrilled to have supported the growth of our clients and partners despite the ongoing pandemic, but we are also continuing to build a talented and diverse team to propel ourselves into the new year.

Key Milestones

  • Secured funding from 500 Startups to grow and accelerate our operations in Malaysia
  • Processed over USD 100 Million in transactions since launching
  • Joined forces with hundreds of partners in 2020, recording a 600% growth in recurring payment volumes year-on-year

Awards

  • Best FinTech Startup Finalist at the TechNode Global’s ORIGIN Innovation Startup Awards 2020

  • Represented the country as the regional finalist at the Tech In Asia x Surge Startup Pitch Arena Battle during the Tech In Asia Conference 2020

  • One of 2019’s regional finalist at the ASEAN Ricebowl Awards for the Best FinTech Startup category

Team

  • Improved employee productivity and performance through new and creative ways to work from home despite the ongoing pandemic and Movement Control Orders (MCO)

  • Launched our Future Leaders programme designed to groom the next generation of leaders of our company and empower change in the way business is done as we scale across Asia

  • Opened our doors to over 30 undergraduate students from Malaysia, Australia and the UK in 2020 to explore opportunities to work alongside experienced professionals and develop new skills and qualities as part of their course requirements and remote internship programmes

The impact of 2020 has upended old practices that have been long accepted as the norm. And as we continue to mitigate the current economical impact here at Curlec, we have reworked our technology to provide you an end-to-end solution with improved level of productivity and efficiency. Giving you the ability to be truly in control with your cash flow, ability to automate your payments and manage your projections all within a single platform.

 
So, while we continue to handle your payments each step of the way, you can focus on what matters and grow your business.
 

2020 Software Updates

Introducing One-Off & Recurring Credit Card Payments

Curlec has now broadened our payment offerings to include recurring as well as one-off credit card payments to ensure our merchants get the most comprehensive payment mix for their recurring business activities.

 
Scale Up Your Business With Faster Payouts

Whether you plan to send payouts to your customers, service providers or freelancers, scale up your business efficiently and improve your users’ experience by simplifying your disbursement workflows via our portal or powerful API.

Digitising Paper Mandates

Take the pain out of getting paid and digitise any of your existing PayNet-approved paper mandates to better optimise your payment collection strategy and manage all your transactions online within a single platform.

Group Pay

Redefining the way you transact, Curlec’s Group Pay makes it easy for businesses to automate and collect payments from multiple subsidiaries within a single ‘parent’ account so that you can focus on growing your business.

 
Flexible Subscriptions & Scheduled Collections

Whether it is bi-weekly, monthly or even quarterly collections, optimise your payment strategy by personalising your payment plans according to subscription tiers and give your customers the option to spread out their billings.

 
New Short Links

While we have rolled out our WhatsApp feature in 2019, this year, provide your customers with a frictionless checkout experience by utilising our short links API to request approvals for Mandates and Instant Payments via QR code and URL – which is great for SMS and WhatsApp.

 
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Data security is of utmost importance to us. At Curlec, we keep your business and customers safe from cyber attacks through a two-factor authentication which is an additional layer of security for your Curlec account.

Want to know what’s coming up?

Big things are happening at Curlec this 2021!
 
We are thrilled to unveil exciting new updates we have in store, designed to seize opportunities for a greater online payment experience this coming new year. So, while we continue to handle your payments each step of the way, you can focus on what matters; growing your business. Stay tuned to find out more!
 

Curlec offers businesses the ability to charge for one-off payments as well as set up recurring billings – all through a single, seamless system. Scroll down to get in touch with us via the contact form, or discover more about Curlec here!

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Charge Once, Charge Often? Let’s Talk Recurring vs One-Off Payments

Pricing your product or service is a tough cookie to crack. One dilemma that’s coming up more often is whether to charge your customers a one-time fee (as is traditional), or move towards the direction of recurring payments instead (as is on the rise).

Let’s talk about one-off payments vs recurring payments. How do the two weigh up against each other, and what if…you offer both?

What are one-off payments and recurring payments?

First things first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page in regards to what these terms mean.

A one-off or one-time payment is a single transaction, where the entire amount of the product or service is transacted. As the transaction is completed in one go, there is no continuous relationship established between the seller and buyer.

Recurring payments are transactions that are made repeatedly and periodically over a certain schedule. The billing amount and schedule can be fixed or flexible, but must always be communicated clearly between seller and buyer. Recurring payments include your gym memberships, utility bills and subscription services in general.

How do they work?

One-off payments are simple and straightforward. Be it cash, card or online banking – the customer makes a single transaction.

With recurring payments on the other hand, the customer has to provide authorisation for the seller to credit from their account based on the agreed amount and frequency.

Payment methods which allow automatic recurring billings come in all shapes and forms:

  • Standing orders
  • Auto debit (from credit or debit card)
  • Direct debit (from bank account)

Pros and cons of recurring payments vs one-off payments

Which payment model is more suitable for my business?

Both recurring and one-off payment methods offer considerable appeal. For consumers, recurring payments may be more accessible than higher, one-off payments. On the other hand, many consumers still remain skeptical about allowing businesses to “access” their bank accounts.

But which should your business explore? When making the comparison, these 3 factors can serve as a helpful starting point.

  • What’s the nature of your product or service like

Traditionally, industries which have been well-served by recurring billing models include media, gyms, software, utilities and subscriptions. Services which can be provided on an ongoing basis allow merchants and customers alike to gravitate towards recurring billings for its “set it and forget it” nature.

  • Do you have the right infrastructure?

Managing recurring payments can be complex, so make sure to choose a system like Curlec which eases (and ideally automates) the process instead of adding more work on top of it.

  • What level of customer experience can you provide?

If you’re going to charge your customers on a recurring basis, what guarantee do you have that they’ll stick around? Though the price may be lower, the “feeling” that the merchant is taking money from them every month can make it more difficult to retain customers without good customer service and valuable retention strategies in place.

The Intersection Point

Despite their differences, you don’t have to see recurring payments and one-off payments as two separate black-and-white entities!

Here’s why – Many payment methods used for one can also be used for the other. For example, many may know Direct Debit (withdrawal from a customer’s bank account) for its fuss-free method of collecting recurring payments.

What many may not know is that Direct Debit can also be used for instant one-off payments. At Curlec, these are known as “click payments” and utilise the same mechanism used to setup Direct Debit.

Why stick to one, when you can offer both?

Your customers have varying payment capabilities, hence why both recurring and one-off payments may have their respective places in your business. Instead of committing to just one, offer your customers the ability to make the choice which suits them best.

Curlec offers businesses the ability to charge for one-off payments as well as set up recurring billings – all through a single, seamless system. Scroll down to get in touch with us via the contact form, or discover more about Curlec here!

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New Feature Alert: Collect Recurring Payments From Credit/Debit Card!

For many of us, recurring billings are without a doubt heavily ingrained into our lives. Our phone services, internet, mortgage and car instalments all make up some examples of recurring payments which are ever-present in our day-to-day lives.

In the past two years, Curlec has been instrumental in making the recurring payments process easier for both business owners and consumers.

We’ve built an end-to-end recurring billing and subscription management system, which has transformed the Direct Debit process to become seamless and automated.

With this, businesses both small and large have been able to introduce Direct Debit to their customers, enabling both parties to enjoy the convenience that comes with recurring payments.

Introducing recurring card payments with Curlec

While we previously only provided the option for recurring billing from bank accounts, you can now offer your customers the option to pay with their debit or credit cards as well!

Initially, Curlec’s Direct Debit sparked a buzz in the FinTech scene for fuss-free recurring withdrawals directly from the customer’s bank account.

Now, merchants can enjoy the exact same fuss-free process to collect recurring payments from their customers’ debit or credit cards as well.

How does recurring card payments with Curlec work?

Existing merchants, fret not! The procedure to set up recurring card payments is almost exactly the same as what you’re already used to.

For starters, customers need to complete their one-time verification via the Mandate as usual. This time, instead of selecting the “FPX” option, customers simply choose the “Visa/Mastercard” option.

The Mandate is essentially a form that customers fill to grant permission for the merchant to deduct the agreed amount and frequency of payments from their bank account/card.

After filling in all the necessary details, the customers’ card details are tokenised and stored in the system. The next time a payment is due, all you have to do is click a button to collect the payment due.

“Store my card details? What do you mean?”

Concerned customers will be glad to know that card details are not stored by merchants nor Curlec, and are only held by Mastercard Payment Gateway Services (MPGS).

The difference for businesses

  • Bigger reach
  • More options for your customers
  • Customers still get to enjoy credit card reward points

With recurring card payments comes all the convenience you’d expect from credit card processing.

As a merchant, you’ll be able to expand your reach to customers who are comfortable with being billed from both bank account and card.

With recurring card payments, there is also the usual credit card incentive of reward points – which might serve as an extra incentive for customers to opt for recurring payments with you.

Most of us are familiar with using terminal machines when paying with card, which typically involves credit card networks such as Visa and Mastercard as the intermediary.

Curlec however, uses Payments Network Malaysia (PayNet) as the foundation for processing both Direct Debit and locally-issued cards as well. This means that card payments which go through PayNet still count when it comes to earning reward points!

That being said, card payments are subject to a higher transaction fee as well as longer wait time.

With Direct Debit on the other hand, there are no card networks involved such as Visa and Mastercard. The only communication that takes place is between one bank to another.

This makes Direct Debit a more affordable option as the processing fee is significantly lower.

To find out more, an article we’ve written earlier delves a little deeper into Direct Debit vs Credit Cards.

Malaysian consumers are generally familiar with the concept of recurring card payments, whereas Direct Debit may feel like they’re granting the business full access to their bank account.

With more traditional industries such as utilities, customers may be more hesitant and less willing to explore Direct Debit, automatically leaning towards card payments instead for their recurring billings and subscriptions.

In the end, it all boils down to having both options in place for your customers.


If you’re a business who would like to explore these payment methods, find out more about Curlec here, or scroll down to the form at the bottom of this page to get in touch with us!

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Surviving Economic Downturns With Subscriptions

An economic crisis is characterised by a fall in economic activity due to a decline in spending, consumption and investment across the economy. In current times, we have witnessed consumers tightening their belts in order to see their way out of this crisis but, with this, we have also seen businesses suffer from a reduction in revenue and cash flow, increasing expenses, poor growth and in the worst cases, business failure.

Here’s how a subscription-based business model could be your antidote to getting your business through this economic downturn.

The SEI (Subscription Economy Index) has found that subscription revenue has grown by more than 350% for the past seven years as recurring revenue-based business models exploded due to digitally enabled, pay-as-you-go services. Subscription services have even shown to be more stable and more resistant to fluctuations in the economy. Customers often prefer to make subscription purchases, which offer greater value for a lower up-front cost, than large one-off payments as these are easier on budgets during times of financial hardship.

Meanwhile, for a business, a subscription model can be preferable for many reasons. Most importantly, it allows for a more predictable cash flow through recurring revenue from existing customers. If your business typically offers one-time sales, it may be beneficial to switch to a subscription model for greater business stability.

Why may a business struggle during economic crises?

A business model that relies on one-off sales is likely to face a myriad of difficulties during economic crises compared to their subscription counterparts. The key difference between the two is that one off sales transfer ownership of the product to the consumer, while subscription businesses do not.

Cash flow is crucial in times of economic downturn, and unfortunately some businesses suffer from unpredictable cash flow. While efforts to forecast revenue may help, small changes in the market can result in drastic changes for businesses. The issue here is usually a lack of an ongoing customer base. Businesses that rely on traditional one-off payments tend to have much less of an ongoing relationship with their customer base and therefore it is not easy to up-sell or cross-sell to existing consumers.

Many businesses also face persuasion challenges. During poor economic conditions, consumers are more cautious with their spending, attempting to convince them to make large one-off payments can prove to be a difficult task. Along with this, even if businesses are able to overcome the persuasion barrier, one of the biggest drawbacks of one-off payments is the lack of customer retention. The Customer Lifetime Value of each customer is limited and there is little guarantee of selling to them again, especially during downturn.

The Magic Pill: A transition to a recurring/subscription model

Subscription-based businesses are on the rise. A recurring billing model, like that offered by Curlec, may enable your business to see steady growth, benefit from higher revenues and increase in scale.


Attractive and more affordable pricing

Perhaps the main advantage of subscription business models arises from the fact that this type of pricing is much more attractive to consumers. Higher prices act as a barrier to entry and reduce customer acquisition, especially during times of economic downturn.


Larger customer base

The lower barrier to entry may also allow your business to capture a larger customer base, who otherwise would not be able to pay large one-off prices for your products. A great benefit is that it is also easier to offer proof of concept. With one-off payment systems, it can be difficult to offer consumers a trial period. As customers gain full access to the product immediately after subscribing, it is much easier for them to assess the value of your product.


Reducing churn through automation with Curlec

With Curlec’s billing automation, not only is revenue and cash flow much more predictable, Curlec’s services mean that there are fewer gaps between billing cycles, helping to plug revenue leaks and expediting receivables. It is important to note however, that with a subscription model, reducing churn is essential. An easy way to ensure minimal churn for your business is to provide a seamless billing and payments collection process.


Easier to up-sell or cross-sell to existing customers

Subscription based models could also increase customer cart sizes through up and cross-selling. A subscription model enables a business to build a deeper relationship with customers as a result of its customer-centric nature. This ongoing customer relationship means that it can be easier to market additional sales to customers. The customer is already aware of the value that your business provides and is likely to be more receptive to any additional services that can increase the value of their subscription further. Additionally, customers already accept the subscription fees and this means that any additional sales may be viewed as more affordable.

If you are a business seeking to make a transition to a subscription based model, or you are already a subscription business seeking to make your payments collection process seamless, learn more about how Curlec can help here. Keen to know more about the subscription economy? Check out this blog post by Curlec.

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Managing Cash Flow In A Crisis

In times like these, cash is king. The coronavirus pandemic has taken the world by surprise and the main priority of many businesses, large corporations and SMEs alike, has shifted to cash flow optimisation and survival. According to the World Bank, Malaysia’s economy is likely to contract by 3.1 percent in 2020 – a scary statistic for many business owners. This, paired with JP Morgan’s findings that half of small businesses only have a cash buffer to allow them to stay in business for 27 days, necessitates a focus on cash flow for many businesses.

Here’s what Curlec has to say about effectively managing your business’s cash flow.

Wait… What is Cash Flow?

Cash flow is a measure of the amount of money that flows into and out of your business over a given period of time. A business can be cash flow positive, which means that more money is flowing into the business than out of the business, or cash flow negative, which means that more money flows out of the business than into it.

Operating, financing and investing activities cause changes in the cash flow of a business.

Why does it matter?

Managing and optimising your business’s cash flow effectively is essential in ensuring business survival, especially in times of financial hardship brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A wise (wo)man once said ‘cash is king’ and at Curlec, we second this view. This is why Curlec recommends Direct Debit to optimise your business’s cash flow.

Cash flow is essential for daily operations, paying bills and to cover day-to-day costs. Cash flow also gives you business greater flexibility – be it with purchasing decisions, debt management and credit acquisition. Moreover, in order to grow your business, you’ll need to reinvest and in order to reinvest, you’ll need cash.

Managing your business’s cash flow means that you know when money will be flowing into your business and optimising it means trying to get more money to flow into your business at a quicker rate.

The goal is to always be cash flow positive. Learn how Curlec can help with this here.

Tips on how to manage your cash flow…

First up, don’t panic! We know it can be stressful trying to keep your business afloat during these uncertain times but panicking isn’t going to help. Try talking to key stake-holders in your business and be transparent about the issues that you’re facing. Those who know your business well may be able to help you think of ways to increase the rate of money flowing into your business. Think outside of the box! We’re currently facing a global pandemic and nearly all of us are facing economic conditions that we’ve never faced before. You may need to be creative with your ideas in a situation like this.

Here are some short-term and long-term ideas to get you started.


Short-Term Solutions:

Monitor Your Accounts Receivable

Accounts receivable is simply any money owed to your business from your customers. The goal here is to expedite your receivables. The first step is to solidify the basics: timely and accurate invoicing and switching to electronic invoicing could be a more efficient option. Another option to consider is shortening payment terms, thereby allowing you to expedite your receivables in critical times like this. Your business’s payment terms and payment collections process is crucial in ensuring a stable and healthy cash flow. When you have more time, think about whether your payment process supports cash flow optimisation.

Read more about Curlec and how we can help with this here.


Extend Payables

This refers to the money flowing out of your business. Think about ways to reduce the amount of money flowing out of your business by delaying payments. We recommend caution when doing so. Be transparent with suppliers and communicate with them in order to preserve your supply chains.


Reassess Variable Costs

A simple way to do this is to reduce discretionary expenditure. Consider reducing full-time work to part-time work, if possible, in order to reduce labour costs or consider operating a work from home program, if you don’t already have one, to reduce commuting costs and potential rent expenditures. Some solutions could also be as simple as providing fewer snacks in your office pantry!


Long-Term solutions:

Select A Payment Method That Provides Long Term Cash Flow Stability

Cash flow stability means that you’re confident that more money is constantly flowing into your business than out of your business. Curlec is here to help you manage your business’s cash flow with Direct Debit. Automating your payments with Curlec means that you know exactly when you’ll be getting money from your customers and ensures that these payments are always made on time. If your current payment method doesn’t support cash flow stability, consider making a switch.

Request a demo from Curlec here.


Reassess Fixed Costs
In uncertain times like these, a good option is to consider converting fixed costs to variable costs where possible. Think about leasing large fixed assets instead of purchasing them and reassess your business’s investment plans. It’s probably not the best idea to be making risky investments right now and doing so could destabilise your business’s cash flow even more.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the importance of a steady and healthy cash flow for all businesses. Cash flow optimisation is not always an easy task, especially when operating a business model with a heavy reliance on recurring payments.

Curlec is here to make your payments collection process seamless with Direct Debit. Get in touch with us to find out more about how your business can automise its payments collection process.

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Digital Payments: A ‘Nice-to-Have’ To The Only Way To Do Business

Covid-19 has sent the world into a panic. This is particularly true for businesses, with companies of all sizes being sent into survival mode. If cash flow wasn’t the priority before, it certainly is now.

A survey conducted by SME Malaysia found that only 33% of Malaysian businesses had just enough cash flow to pull through in March, while another 37.8% can sustain themselves until April 2020.

The fallout from this pandemic for businesses is clear for all to see. Initiatives such as going digital, which we previously viewed as “nice to have” pre Covid-19, have quickly accelerated overnight to becoming the only way to do business. This is particularly true when taken against a payments perspective – when there is no cash, no cheques, no over-the-counter transactions, then digital payments are a must.

Here at Curlec, we provide an online platform that helps businesses collect recurring and one-off payments, and ultimately puts them in control of their cash flow. In this article, we will explore how solutions such as ours can help mitigate the short term impacts that we all currently face right now, as well as what can be done longer term to weather the next potential storm.

Make it as easy as possible for your customers to pay

In the midst of the global pandemic, it is more important than ever for businesses to offer convenience and flexibility to their customers. The last thing you need is having your remaining prospects cancel their purchase or subscription due to restricted payment options, especially when sales are at a premium.

Relevance remains the key currency for business owners to scale up their operations effectively, and there has never been a more important time for businesses to become truly digital. To address this issue, Curlec enables business owners such as yourselves to not only manage your payments digitally and remotely, but ultimately the power to design your own payment plan to dictate when to bill, how much to invoice as well as when to collect.

Being truly digital means having to be closely attuned to how your customer wants to pay, or in the case in a lockdown, how they can pay. So, when making payments by cheques or over the counter is out of the question, have your customers complete their transactions directly through your website using Curlec’s API, or utilise our Request-To-Pay feature via email or WhatsApp. Here payment links with pre-filled forms can be sent to your customer, where they can simply authorise within a few clicks.

When payment becomes real-time and instant, all the customers need to do is authorise forms online or approve requested payments in real-time, without even making a trip to the store. This means that you can get paid instantly!

Have full visibility over your payments process

While some perceive going digital as just a requirement to engage with new customers, being digital actually requires you to be open to re-examining your entire way of doing business and understanding where the new frontiers of value are.

The Curlec system easily integrates with accounting systems, meaning that collecting payments become automatic when invoices are due, and reconcile these payments automatically so that you will be able to know what has been collected as well as how many payments that are due or outstanding. Having all this information at hand meant that you can easily manage your projections, as well as having the ability to act on certain issues quicker to avoid any disruptions to your cash flow.

In addition to that, one of the major benefits of going digital with Curlec is its mobility. The cloud enables you and your team to have a consolidated view of all your payment records in real-time, while offering the flexibility to work from any location remotely. Aside from improving the level of productivity and efficiency, this saves you having to deal with stacks of invoices and worrying about payment notices getting lost. You can spend less time worrying about who has yet to pay you and focus more on growing your business.

Widen your collection strategies

Collecting funds, especially recurring payments should be easy. And for most businesses, using Direct Debit puts you in control of when you get paid.

But what happens if the collections fail? Every failed transaction will negatively impact your cash flow, increase churn rates as well as require heavy admin work to be rectified.

So, how does one expand and diversify their debtor strategy when this happens?

With the Curlec portal, you get instant notifications of any failed transactions as well as the ability to automate retries to improve your collection rates accordingly. The system provides a variety of automatic notifications which includes mandate set up, transaction status and failures that encompasses the entire collection process so that you are notified and are able to rectify any related issues instantly. Having full visibility of your collection status using the Curlec portal means you can act on this a lot quicker and strategically.

And if the retries for Direct Debit still don’t work, you don’t need to worry. Curlec gives you the ability to combine your regular collections with our one-off Instant Pay (FPX) tool. As a result, your customers can pay off what is owed for a one-off period while you sort out the recurring issue. So, whether you collect monthly subscriptions, instalments or one-off transactions, collecting payments with Curlec has never been easier.

In a time where cashless methods are the safest and most practical way to conduct your business, it is now mission critical to be able to make the change quickly and become truly digital. So while you work on what needs to be done to sustain and grow your business, Curlec will be right behind you to handle all of your collection needs.


To find out more on how Curlec can help you collect payments remotely, connect with us today by filling in the contact form below.

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How Tos Tips

5 Excuses For Late Payments & How To Deal With Them

It probably does not come as a surprise that late payments are not just a problem for SMEs and large corporates in Malaysia, but also for businesses of all shapes and sizes across the globe.

Dealing with late payments has become part and parcel in running a business. Reports suggest an estimated $3.1 trillion are currently stuck in account receivable for U.S businesses alone, writing off around $150 billion every year in bad debt from receivables that could not be recovered.

The decades old practice of late payments has proven to cause difficulties for businesses who have their own overhead and staff to pay, hence, suffer from numerous admin and cash flow issues in trying to stay afloat.

A study by SME Media Group and INTI International University reports 73% of Malaysian businesses suffer from late payments, getting paid on an average of 94 days for invoices with 30-day payment terms.

While recovering from late payments can be a hefty challenge, the most important thing to remember is that you have delivered your end of the bargain, and you have every right to seek for payment. Preparation is key in getting past the excuses provided by both vendors and customers, and taking a proactive stance when speaking with them will help you overcome these challenges.

In this article, we highlight 5 different excuses that customers and clients have commonly used when it comes to late payments, and the fixes you can utilise to ensure that you get paid on time while maintaining a good relationship with the said customer.

Excuse #1: “We have yet to receive your invoice”

Lost invoices happen to be one of the most common delaying tactics used by clients and customers. Whatever your product or services may be, ensure that you keep a paper trail on all your communication with your customers that will prove useful when you take necessary actions to recover these payments.

Here are two ways in which you can do to address this;

i) Request for email acknowledgement upon receipt of your invoice.
ii) Send email reminders before payment is due to ensure that the invoice has been received and any issues they have are answered prior to the due date.

Excuse #2: “The person in charge is not in today”

In any industry sector, the business should still operate as usual even in the absence of the person who issues the company’s payments. However, this excuse has been constantly used as a way to put off payments whenever the collectors come calling.

First of all, ask for the exact person you would need to get in touch with and when they will be available. Remember to make a note on their availability and call back then.

Alternatively, if that doesn’t seem to work out, ask for another person from the team to assist. Today’s technology has made it possible for clients to store proof of delivery, invoices as well as other types of important documents that would be useful to the rest of the team when the person in charge is not available for long periods of time.

Perhaps, to speed up the process, you can offer an alternative payment method and remind them of the possible interest charges should the payment be further delayed to prompt their immediate action.

 

Excuse #3: “We are waiting for payments ourselves”

In some cases, clients feel that they are entitled to withhold payment until their customers make payment to them.

While you may be willing to forgive the occasional delay, you might want to review your payment plan outlined in the contract with your client or customer, and reiterate the terms they have agreed upon in the beginning of the partnership.

Give them a new deadline and advise that any future services will probably require a deposit ahead of time or at the very least, a part payment or payments in the form of instalments to ensure that you receive some sort of compensation to cover your business needs.

Excuse #4: “There is a problem with the work”

Possibly the oldest excuse in the book, it is common for clients to withhold payment on the grounds that the work is wrong, or it was never signed off. And disputes regarding the work deliverables are often left unattended for as long as possible to cause delays in resolution, in turn, the need for payment as well.

From minor discrepancies to deliverable conflicts, the key here is, the more details you ask, the harder it is to get it wrong. The best thing you can do is to call before the invoice is due so that any feedback with the work is jotted down and gets resolved by the time payment is scheduled to be transmitted.

 

Excuse #5: “Our system is down”

While struggles with technology are understandable, they are also usually temporary. And blaming payment delays on technology is another way to try and excuse the fact that they are not able to pay you for your services on time.

The best thing to do is to ask when they can expect the issue to be resolved, and if arrangements can be made to send the payment using other methods rather than waiting by the computer.

With resources such as mobile banking and other various methods of payment available, there is no real technical excuse for not being able to provide payment by the time it is due.

 

Curlec: A Smarter Way to Collect Recurring Payments.

In an industry where chasing payments is commonplace, let outstanding invoices be a thing of the past. Curlec creates a seamless payment experience that enables you to get paid on time, every time via Direct Debit and Instant Pay (FPX).

Improve your cash flow – While traditional payment collections result in never-ending recurring late payments, Direct Debit automatically pulls fees from customer’s accounts whenever it’s due.

Automate Your Payments – As your customer base grows, collecting payments only becomes more and more of a hassle. Provide your customers the option of a more convenient, worry-free way of making payments and stay one step ahead in terms of convenience and flexibility.

Minimise employee workload – Direct Debit’s hands-off approach to recurring payment collections take the burden off your employee’s shoulders. The need for follow-ups are reduced and employees can then turn their focus elsewhere.


Want to talk to us about swapping your current payment solution provider to Curlec? Contact us below and we will get in touch soon!

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How Tos Tips

The Ultimate Checklist To Get You Started With Curlec

For some, setting up your payment system can be as easy as popping a checkout button on your site and calling it a day.

For smart business owners, however, taking full control of the entire payment process is definitely the way to go to not only ensure that they provide a seamless payment process for their customers, but also a smarter solution that can help improve their cash flow significantly.

So, if you are a business owner who has just signed up to Curlec, but are not sure where or how to begin, we have come up with the ultimate checklist to get you started with Curlec’s Direct Debit solution in just 3 easy steps.

Deciding On Your Billing Process

Whether you are selling subscription packages or one-off products, the best way to get things rolling is to choose the simplest way possible to process your payments. A method that not only simplifies your workflow, but also provides a straightforward process for customers to complete the payment value chain.

Here are 3 things you will need to consider when structuring your billing tactics:


Sign Up Method – May it be in-store or online, establishing your onboarding method determines where and how your customers sign up. With our web-based application, your customers can make purchases in-store at the point of sale, or have them sign up directly through your website using Curlec’s powerful API. Our system provides an easy solution for customers to authorise their eMandates from wherever they are.

Billing Cycle – Unlike any other payment methods, Direct Debit works great for businesses that charge varying amounts depending on how much a customer uses or buys. You have the ability to customise the amount, date, frequency and duration of payments according to your business model. This means that whether you bill your customers just once a month or everyday of the month, we provide the flexibility to do this!

Dealing with Failed Transactions – Concerned with failed payments? With the Curlec dashboard, you can now get real-time notifications of failed transactions as well as being able to automate collection retries. Additionally, we offer additional payments options such as our Instant Pay (FPX) feature to improve your collection rates.

Determining Your Roll Out Plan

It turns out, timing really is important. But that’s not the only thing that gets your payments going. Even the best possible payment solution can quickly turn disastrous if no proper adoption process is being implemented.

Here are a couple of things you will need to make clear when designing your roll out plan:


Notifying your clients – Identifying key communication strategies to go along with the launch of Curlec will ensure you maximise your adoption rates from the very beginning. The best possible way to do this is to launch your system in phases and communicate this to your clients throughout. Start with the group of people you know are most likely to adopt and succeed, before venturing with the groups who are less open to change.

Getting your team aligned – Most of the time, the difference between a successful and failed adoption is having a great team that works well together for implementation. Always remember that communication works both ways. Make the team feel they are part of the decision making process by giving them a chance to provide feedback and concerns regarding the new system.

There’s more to prepping the team than just having a single training session.

  • Announce the changes in advance, preferably weeks or months before to get them ready.
  • Take advantage of the resources provided by hosting ongoing training sessions to keep the teams engaged and familiarise themselves with the system.
  • Evaluate your roll out success at different intervals as you go forward by consistently following up with the team to ensure everyone is onboard with the process.
Encourage Your Customers To Use Direct Debit

With Curlec, Direct Debit doesn’t just benefit your business, it also brings a whole host of advantages to your customers too. Advantages that ultimately, add to the quality of services that you are delivering.

Mention your payment options from the start – Talk openly about your payment methods to set clear expectations that Direct Debit is the preferred payment channel.

Explain how easy it is to sign up with Curlec – Show customers how easy it is to set up their payment with Curlec. By highlighting key benefits of using Direct Debit to customers, you are offering them peace of mind that builds an element of trust for your business.

Incentivise the switch – The truth is using Direct Debit brings a whole host of cost, time and admin savings to your business. You may pass on some of these savings to your customers and encourage them to start using Direct Debit ASAP. This can be:

  • Discounted monthly fees
  • Waiving any upfront fees
  • A gift for those paying by Direct Debit!

If you haven’t checked out our previous article on how you can further encourage customers to move to Direct Debit, you can brush up on your knowledge here.


Eager to get started on your very own Direct Debit solution with Curlec? Get in touch with us today by filling up the form below, and we’ll help you boost your business with the right roll out plan!