Bank Launches Web-based Tax Payment Facility

Bumiputra Commerce Bank Berhad (BCB) in Malaysia has launched a new service for its business customers called e-Payment Services for Income Tax, which promises to make tax payment easier and ensure that taxes are collected on time.

The collaborative effort between BCB and Malaysia’s Inland Revenue Board was brought to fruition by Singapore-based Web technology company eXtropia, which developed the system over the course of less than three months. It was launched yesterday in Kuala Lumpur by Malaysian deputy finance minister YB Dato’ Chan Kong Choy.

According Dato’ Chan, it is imperative for all Malaysian businesses to constantly review their approach in creating value, retaining customers and enhancing their positions in the market place in the light of rapid advancement in enabling technology and a significant trend toward e-commerce delivery.

BCB is the commercial banking arm of public-listed Commerce Asset-Holding Berhad (CAHB), a diversified financial services group with interest that includes merchant banking, stock broking, futures trading, funds management, unit trust management, insurance and venture capital financing. BCB has one of Malaysia’s largest network of more than 300 branches and outlets.

“BCB believes in understanding the customers’ needs and delivering products that meet these needs. With this product, BCB is simplifying the entire process for employers making employee income tax payment to the Inland Revenue Board (on behalf of their employees by deducting from their employees’ salary on a monthly basis). We make income tax payments convenient, user-friendly and secure,” a BCB spokesperson said.

The Web-based payroll management system is now available via the Bank’s newly developed BizChannel portal, which was also developed by eXtropia.

Targeted at larger companies, the new service is available to any BCB customer with a PC and Internet connectivity. These companies can sign up for the free service by submitting their employees’ data to the Inland Revenue Board; selecting an account from which the funds will be deducted; and authorizing payment.

“Currently customers do not need to pay for this service. We would like to encourage businesses to experience the convenience of this payment product over the Internet. In time to come, we might charge a nominal fee but customers would be informed of that when the time comes,” the BCB spokesperson added.

e-Payment Services for Income Tax is the first of several new online banking services to be offered by BCB. According to eXtropia chief executive officer Li-Hsien Lim, her company is currently working on another portal for the Bank. Scheduled to be completed by late July, the as-yet-unnamed portal will target the country’s sizeable number of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).

Lim added that Malaysian banks are getting online before their foreign counterparts increase competition when they enter the domestic market in the near future.

For BCB, foremost on its list of priorities when developing the e-Payment Services for Income Tax was to address security concerns that customers may have. “We have done so by investing in leading edge digital certification and encryption technology with a leading provider of public key infrastructure (PKI) systems,” the BCB spokesperson said.

According to eXtropia officials, the technologies used in the new Web-based system include Java J2EE using JSP, Servlets, RMI, and JDBC; XML and SOAP; Apache and Jrun; and eXtropia proprietary reverse proxy technology.

“The reverse proxy provides load balancing, scalability and extra security (using BSSO and digital certificates); the Web server is responsible for handling the user interface; the application server holds the business rules; and the database server manages the data,” an eXtropia statement read.

The Web technology company had deployed 10 developers and support staff to craft and implement BCB’s new service in a span of 10 weeks. BCB declined to comment on how much it has invested in its new service but Lim said the deal has contributed 25 percent to eXtropia’s revenue for the year.

Major companies that use eXtropia technology include Barclays Capital, Deutsche, Bank of Singapore, M1, MoreRewards,, Auplex, Nam Lee Pressed Metal Industries, Intercedent Asia, General Motors, Bell Atlantic, NASA, Century 21, Lucent Technologies, Kelloggs, Northwest Airlines, Shell Oil, Intel, SGI, and Boeing.

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