HLB Partners With Soft Space, JCB To Drive JCB Card Acceptance In Malaysia
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Hong Leong Bank (HLB) has entered into a partnership with local fintech and digital payments service provider, Soft Space, as well as Japanese credit card company, JCB International to increase the acceptance of JCB cards in Malaysia. This comes as Malaysia’s tourism industry continues to recover post-Covid-19, with more Japanese travellers making their way here.

Specifically, Soft Space has signed a master licence agreement with JCB International that allows Soft Space to work with local acquirers – such as HLB – to promote the acceptance of JCB cards among their merchants. In fact, one of HLB’s merchants that have already begun accepting JCB card payments is the five-star hotel Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara.

According to the managing director of personal finance services for HLB, Andrew Jong, this collaboration with JCB and Soft Space indicates the bank’s commitment in rolling out products and services that cater to the needs of its merchants and customers. “With an influx of tourists and expats coming from Japan into Malaysia, the option to accept JCB cards will ensure convenience for its cardholders and provide businesses with an additional opportunity to capture more tourists and grow their business,” he said.

Meanwhile, the chief executive officer of Soft Space, Joel Tay said that this collaboration represents a first step in the company’s ambition to roll out similar cross-border payment agreements in Southeast Asia. It hopes to ride on the current wave of increasing contactless card payments in the region to boost JCB card acceptance.

Similarly, president and chief executive officer of JCB International, Yoshiko Kaneko said that establishing a partnership with HLB is a huge step forward for the expansion of JCB acceptance network in Malaysia. “We can now better serve JCB card members coming to Malaysia not only from Japan, but also from the ASEAN region where we have more than 10 million card members,” he said.

As Malaysia’s tourism industry continues to grow in 2023, Japan has become one of the top 10 contributors to tourist arrivals and spending in Malaysia. This is expected to continue as Malaysia continues to work towards its current target of welcoming 16.1 million international tourists and generating RM49.2 billion revenue from tourism.

Meanwhile, Soft Space has already had previous liaison with JCB since 2022, where JCB agreed to inject US$5 million into Soft Space. The companies will also work together on a range of efforts, including establishing card issuing solutions and providing customer marketing offerings.

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