,According to BlueDuck chief executive officer Earnest Wong, there is an estimated RM3bil in locked funds as a result of security deposits and additional initial rental payments required prior to renters moving in. LOCAL fintech startup BlueDuck hopes to unlock funds stuck in security deposits for the rental market to increase cash flow for consumers while ensuring safety for landlords. According to BlueDuck chief executive officer Earnest Wong, there is an estimated RM3bil in locked funds as a result of security deposits and additional initial rental payments required prior to renters moving in. Traditionally, two and a half months worth of rental along with a deposit are required in order to move into a newly rented property. If, for example, monthly rental costs RM2,000, the amount of initial payment needed would be RM7,000. However, given the current economic climate whereby incomes and savings have taken a hit, Wong notes that it is increasingly important for consumers to be able to enjoy huge savings and unlock such funds for other purchases, which would help spur Malaysia’s economic recovery. BlueDuck intends to close that gap through its insurtech and zero deposit solutions. The startup verifies tenants’ eligibility by conducting a background CTOS screening, followed by an e-tenancy agreement and e-stamping, which also eliminates the need for physical contact. It also introduced its BlueDuck Pay, a direct debit solution that turns monthly payments cashless, with an option for automatic deduction. “Together, these features allow for the whole rental process to be made digital, doing away with contact of any form and in turn, making renting safe in a time when efforts by other industries are being taken to curb the spread of the virus, ” says Wong in a statement. Through BlueDuck’s zero deposit policy, a tenant, in the example above, would only need to pay RM2,000 in advanced rental to move into the same unit. BlueDuck, says Wong, was inspired by his own experience of attempting to rent his first unit a while ago. “While I managed to find a place for a reasonable price, it was not until later that I was aware of the additional costs incurred just to move in. On top of that, the process itself was very traditional, requiring ample paperwork. “Fast forward to today and the process is largely unchanged, which sparked my interest in finding a solution, hence the birth of BlueDuck. Through our insurtech and zero deposit solutions, we are truly hoping to make the lives of tenants and landlords much easier as we work with them and property agents to ensure faster and easier access to our solution, reaching a win-win solution for all parties, ” he says. Blue Duck Tech Sdn Bhd is a licensed insurance agency in Malaysia transacting on zero deposit insurance. Coverage is available only in Malaysia where the insurance is currently being transacted. BlueDuck’s zero deposit insurance is an exclusive product and is underwritten by Liberty Insurance Bhd. Wong hopes the startup will help the rental market do away with archaic methods through technology to make the rental experience more seamless and efficient. Additionally, with the increasing supply of units in the market, he opines that lowering the entry cost for property rental could be one of the solutions to encourage more tenants to commit to renting a unit. “The past few years have hit the property industry rather badly. Even before the pandemic arrived, the industry had seen a downturn. With landlords and tenants alike suffering, we were inspired to develop BlueDuck into the solution it is today, hoping to help as many people as possible. “We have more than 200 tenants across five states and have managed to save more than RM600,000 for our customers. This level of growth in a short time is only made possible through our great relationship with property agents, as we’ve hit a new milestone of 2,000 in our network from over 30 major property agencies. “Through technology, we strive to constantly innovate and find new ways to make the rental process more efficient. In fact, we are currently working on ways to refine our zero deposit solution, ” he says.
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