How to Strengthen Your Business’s Cashless Ecosystem

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While cashless transactions have been around since the 1990s, the technological boom of the 2000s and global events like the COVID-19 pandemic have definitely propelled it to the mainstream. The World Bank posits that up to two-thirds of adults worldwide can send and receive digital payments. Cashless ecosystems are growing in new markets, and they won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

If you’re a startup entrepreneur or own a small- or medium-sized enterprise (SME), know that setting up a cashless payment solution is not enough. Your goal should be to strengthen your cashless ecosystem to maximize its potential benefits for both your business and your customers. Below are a few practical strategies for maintaining a profitable cashless ecosystem:  

1) Open a Business Account with a Digital Bank

A truly robust cashless ecosystem begins with your business’s financial infrastructure. For this reason, you’ll want to consider opening a business account with a digital bank that’s known to have strong cashless solutions.

There are several benefits to having a digital bank account for your business. For one, digital banks are often better equipped to meet modern financial needs. They typically offer seamless integration with digital payment platforms and provide real-time transaction tracking. For another, these banks understand the importance of digital transactions and can provide the necessary tools to streamline your cashless operations.

In the Philippines, you’ll have an ally in Maya Business—one of the first financial technology or fintech companies in the country to specialize in financial solutions for startups and SMEs. This includes Maya Business Deposit, which enables businesses to efficiently funnel their revenues for different income streams into one business account. Clients can further use Maya Business Manager, a dashboard that monitors a business’s cash flow, to gain an accurate view of their overall financial health and their revenues from cashless transactions.

2) Provide Solid Online Payment Options

Any business that operates online should have user-friendly online payment solutions integrated into its e-commerce website. You’ll want to ensure that your website can accept various online payment options from your customers, from credit card payments to online wallet payments. You should also motivate your customers to go cashless upon checkout by promising them an online checkout process that’s smooth, secure, and hassle-free.

E-commerce websites on the Shopify or WooCommerce platforms can use Maya’s platform-specific internet payment solutions. Through Maya’s custom Shopify and WooCommerce plugins, your business will easily accept card and digital wallet payments from your customers. Best of all, online payments processed through these payment gateways are encrypted and secured.

3) Offer Multiple Digital Payment Options

In a diverse market, it’s essential to be able to cater to a variety of customer preferences for cashless payments. To enhance your customers’ overall experience in your stores, be sure to offer them multiple digital payment options. Moreover, remove barriers that might prevent potential customers from completing transactions by providing flexibility in their payment methods.

Philippines-based businesses with physical stores can turn to solutions like the Maya Terminal and Maya Terminal Lite. These are next-generation payment terminals that can easily integrate a business’s existing point-of-sale or POS cash register. Aside from accepting credit and debit card transactions, the terminals can also accommodate digital wallet payments as well as QR-code payments from QR Ph.

4) Educate Your Staff and Customers

A cashless ecosystem thrives when both staff and customers are well-informed about how to use it to their advantage. As such, train your employees on how to process digital payments securely. In addition, encourage them to assist customers in navigating the cashless experience, addressing any questions or concerns that the latter may have in a prompt manner.

Also take the time to educate your customers about how cashless payments will benefit them. You can highlight the convenience and security these types of payments provide compared to cash transactions. Above all, establish your business as a trustworthy facilitator of cashless payments, and demonstrate how much you care about your customers’ privacy, convenience, and wellbeing. 

5) Incentivize Cashless Payments

How do you encourage customers to use cashless payments more often? One particularly effective way to do so is to incentivize cashless payments through rewards.

For instance, you can implement loyalty programs or provide cashback rewards to motivate your customers to go cashless. If there’s something in it for the customer, like a discount or other perk, they’ll see the logic of choosing a cashless payment over paper money and coins.

6) Update Your Technology Regularly

To keep your business’s cashless ecosystem both competitive and secure, don’t be remiss in updating your payment systems and software. Remember that regular updates ensure access to the latest security features and technology. Establish a schedule for updates and maintenance to prevent disruptions to your cashless operations.

7) Be Conscientious about Regulatory Compliance for Your Cashless Infrastructure

Finally, staying in compliance with payment industry regulations and security standards is non-negotiable for a business that wants to go cashless. Keep abreast of the regulations in your region, and ensure that every component of your cashless ecosystem aligns with these standards.

Maya’s proprietary payment terminals, the Maya Terminal and Maya Terminal Lite, are ATEX-certified, EMV-certified, and PCI-DSS-compliant electronic and card payment machines. Knowing that these devices meet stringent payment industry regulations, you won’t have to worry about your customers’ security. You can also be confident in your ability to use a cashless ecosystem that operates under the highest financial and ethical standards. 

Strengthening your cashless ecosystem is an endeavor that requires strategic planning and ongoing commitment. Through these approaches, and by partnering with an online payment processing company like Maya Business, you can build up a cashless ecosystem that not only meets your customer expectations but also plays a huge part in your business’s growth and success.

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7 Strengths That Make Singapore Asia’s Most Exciting Biotech Hub

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In the space of just a few decades, Singapore’s biotechnology industry has become the most important in Asia, and arguably the one with the most potential for future growth. With its exceptionally strong R&D capabilities, the city state’s biotech sector is well-placed to breed innovation and attract future-thinking biotech firms.

Indeed, Singapore is already a linchpin in global biotechnology and pharmaceutical research, being home to the Asian headquarters for many of the world’s most recognised biotechnology companies as well as a growing number of promising biotech startups. If things continue as is, the country’s biotech sector may match or exceed other major Asian rivals in producing patents and creating market-ready biotechnology products.

Here are some of the reasons Singapore’s biotechnology scene is the most exciting in Asia:

Specialised Biotechnology Services

Biotech startups with limited goals or capitalisation can easily find a wide range of biotech-oriented businesses in Singapore, including lab space for rent, contract researchers, equipment rental services, specialised storage facilities expected of a biosafety level 2 facility or higher, and much more. The easy access to such highly specialised services gives startups more flexibility while allowing them to perform more cost-effective research. These benefits have made Singapore a preferred destination for biotech startups that want to employ more agile project management methods.

Strong IP Protection

The theft of intellectual property represents a serious threat to all technology firms, particularly smaller organisations with a limited product and patent portfolio. Singapore’s economic managers have recognised this and have instituted one of the world’s best IP protection regimes, allowing biotech and other critical technology sectors to benefit from their own innovations. These laws have already encouraged biotechnology firms from all over the world to move much of their R&D efforts into Singapore.

Synergy With Local Industries

Biotechnology research is dependent on an incredibly wide variety of expensive, highly specialised inputs. Fortunately, Singapore already produces many of these critical requirements, simplifying the research supply chains needed by biotechnology firms. Such critical biotech inputs like precision instruments and speciality chemicals are already made domestically, helping bring some key costs down for locally based companies. In addition, Singapore’s highly developed finance sector and its abundance of venture capital help remove some of the friction biotechs experience when accessing funding, allowing startups to shift more of their focus to research and development.

Highly Developed Human Capital

The global biotech industry today is highly international, and Singapore’s is no different. However, thanks to decades of domestic policies that emphasise human capital development, Singapore has a high density of highly qualified domestic talents that fit well into the biotech sector. This means that biotech startups in Singapore have no problems finding the right people to fill highly technical positions.

Strong Global Trade Linkages

If there’s something that Singaporean-based biotech cannot source domestically, they can easily have it flown or shipped in, thanks to the country’s highly developed international connections and infrastructure. The country’s strategic position between the Indian and Pacific oceans also gives it easy access to the majority of the world’s population and allows it to benefit more from the competitive advantages of other nearby economies. 

State Support for Biotechnology

Biomedical research is considered by the Singaporean government to be a strategic industry, which means the country is heavily invested in its success. As a result, biotechnology companies have additional access to public funding and other kinds of assistance that are not readily available to businesses in many other industries. Combined with the country’s other serious advantages, these unique incentives give biotech companies very good reasons to bet on Singapore.


Singapore is one of the most economically and politically stable countries in the world. It has no foreign debt, extremely low corruption rates, almost zero street crime, and a government with a reputation for being accountable and transparent. It also has conservative fiscal and monetary policies as well as an efficient judicial system. In addition, it is mostly shielded from natural disasters and is not under imminent threat from any foreign power. Together, these factors create the right conditions for an exceedingly stable, low-risk economy—something that is extremely beneficial for biotech organisations given their extremely long research and development pipelines.

Singapore’s high density of talent, unique services, public funding for key industries, political stability, industrial synergy, and logistics advantages give biotech startups firm foundations to not only survive, but thrive in an increasingly competitive industry. In just a few decades, these advantages have helped Singapore earn its place as the preeminent Asian biotech hub and a potential to match its rival hubs in Silicon Valley, the US East Coast, and London.

With Asian economies now growing in prosperity, Singapore is well-placed to attract forward-thinking biotech startups that understand the importance of Asia. Biotech startups with limited capitalisation but big dreams may find Singapore the ideal place to make their long-term global growth objectives a reality.

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10 Surprising Things about Living in Singapore

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The quality of life in Singapore is generally considered to be among the most enviable in the world. The country consistently ranks highly in various personal safety, economic freedom, and political stability indices, making it a model for other nations in Asia and beyond.


Singapore’s unorthodox systems for achieving these successes are often confusing for foreigners, particularly those who are unfamiliar with shared Asian values of communitarianism and harmony. What this means is expats moving to Singapore are often bewildered and surprised by things that are normal or self-evident to locals.

Here are some things about living in Singapore that may surprise expats.


1. It’s Probably Bigger Than You Think


Singapore is one of the smallest countries in the world, occasionally being called a microstate or city-state because of its comparatively small size. However, as the 20th smallest country in the world, it is still much bigger than a substantial number of other countries, including such notables as Andorra, Liechtenstein, Barbados, Grenada, San Marino, Monaco, and the Maldives, just to name a few. 


With approximately 726 square kilometres (280 square miles) of territory across 63 different islands, it’s not exactly a place you could breeze through in just a couple of days. You could live here all your life and still not have visited all the notable places the country has to offer.


2. There’s Plenty of Nature to Go Around


Visitors to Singapore often expect the country to be one big city. While this is partly true in some ways, given the contiguous nature of most of the country’s inhabited areas, there are plenty of relatively unspoiled locations as well. If you love being in green spaces, Singapore has that covered.


In addition to its numerous publicly accessible parks and gardens, the country is also home to four large (for the country’s size) nature reserves. These are Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Labrador Nature Reserve, and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. In addition to these, there are several smaller protected wildlands scattered across the country as well. 


3. There Is a Maximum Height for Buildings in Singapore


Because of the country’s status as an international air transportation hub, skyscrapers in Singapore are relatively short by world standards, with most topping out at just 280 metres. The lower maximum height is intended to prevent buildings from interfering with the country’s heavy round-the-clock air traffic. Exceptions, such as the 290-metre-tall Tanjong Pagar Centre, need special permission to exceed the 280-metre limit.


4. Singapore Is Considered to Be One of the Easiest Places in the World to Do Business


Singapore is consistently ranked as among the easiest places in the world to do business. In 2021, it was just edged out of the top spot by New Zealand. Low corruption, a healthy business ecosystem, and a highly -educated population all contribute to make the country a global business hub, particularly for financial services.

Notably, business incorporation applications can be processed within 15 minutes and, assuming everything is aboveboard, completed in two weeks. This means that if you have a business idea, you can probably make it a reality faster in Singapore than anywhere else in the world.


5. Singapore Takes Public Cleanliness Seriously


Many Westerners are vaguely aware that chewing gum recreationally is banned in Singapore. The ban was enacted to address the problem of chewing gum litter in public spaces. 

However, the chewing gum ban is not the only unusual public cleanliness law in Singapore. People who fail to flush public toilets after using them can be fined SGD 150, if caught. Perhaps more surprisingly, police officers have been known to do spot checks on foreigners who just used the bathroom.


6. The Country Is Designed for Pedestrians


If you’re planning to drive in Singapore, you have to be prepared to pay substantially more for the privilege than people from most countries. The government actively discourages the use of private vehicles, as vehicular traffic is considered to be a major impediment to maintaining a high quality of life in Singapore. Registration fees and taxes are notoriously expensive, and even wealthy Singaporeans are not always guaranteed access to a private automobile.


Thankfully, the country’s public transit systems are widely regarded to be among the best in the world. Pedestrian bridges and walkways also criss-cross the country. With its pedestrian-centric urban development, it’s no wonder Singaporeans are consistently rated as the world’s fastest walkers, with an average pace of 6.15 kilometres per hour.


7. Singaporeans Are Wealthy


One out of every six Singaporean households has assets valued at USD 1 million or more. This gives the country the second-highest density of millionaires in Asia, after Hong Kong, and 11th globally. 


However, this has to be understood in context, as the cost of living in Singapore is one of the highest in the world as well. Thus, while nice, being a millionaire here won’t mean as much as it does in most parts of the world.


8. Singapore Is a Multiethnic Country


Singapore’s Chinese, Malay, and Indian communities form the core of a wider community that includes people from all over the world. The country’s status as a logistics and innovation hub has made it home to an extremely diverse set of expatriates from almost every country on earth. If you love to experience other cultures, Singapore is probably one of the best places in the world to do just that.

9. The Country Is Hot and Humid


Singapore’s geographic location means that the average temperature is around 31°C in daytime and around 24°C at night, all year round. Additionally, humidity rarely dips below 80%. Unlike many other countries situated near the equator, Singapore’s dry and wet seasons are not especially distinct. This means that the country’s weather is fairly homogenous throughout the year.


If you’re not a fan of hot and humid weather, don’t worry. Most of Singapore’s enclosed public spaces are fully air-conditioned. Air-conditioning is such a central part of Singaporean life that Lee Kwan Yew, modern Singapore’s founding father, attributed it to his country’s success.


10. Most Singaporeans Live in Public Housing


About 86% of Singaporeans live in publicly provided housing—and this includes many of the millionaires mentioned earlier. The close living conditions of multiethnic Singaporeans of different social classes in these flats is often attributed as a key factor in shaping the country’s current identity. The success of Singapore’s public housing efforts has been the inspiration for many similar programmes throughout the world.

These are just some of the most common things that surprise expats who just moved to Singapore. Singaporean society and culture are far more complex than they seem to be on the surface, and it is sometimes very far removed from what is typical in the West or even in other Asian countries. But if you keep an open mind, you just might find that Singapore’s quality of life—and the seemingly strange things its people do to achieve it—are not only appealing but worth emulating, as well.

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