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

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.

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