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Payment Systems in Asia

Payment Systems in Asia

The Asian market consists of several of the world’s largest and most populated economies, offering a diverse range of payment options: e-Wallets are the most popular payment system in the region, with credit and debit cards, bank transfers, and cash-on-delivery being widespread methods, too.

As preferences tend to vary by country, there is a large range of payment methods to consider integrating in hopes of reaching consumers in the APAC region. We’ve simplified this task with our Gate2Asia solution.

Countries within the Asia-Pacific region have rapidly become one of the biggest drivers of e-Commerce growth. Based on the latest figures, the region accounted for global e-Commerce sales, comprising USD 2.24 trillion of the USD 3.54 trillion global turnover in 2019.

This growth is expected to continue, with the Asia-Pacific market share reaching USD 3.001 trillion by 2021.

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Payment methods in China

The world’s largest e-Commerce market, China accounted for USD 1.93 trillion of global e-Commerce transactions in 2019. Despite amounting to over three times the turnover of the US market, there is still room for growth. Projections estimate that the Chinese market will continue double-digit growth annually until 2021.

Despite the relatively low numbers of payment card penetration, high volumes of smartphone usage among Chinese consumers, paired with the popularity of mobile-based payment platforms, such as WeChat, ensure high volumes of m-Commerce sales. Composing just over USD 1 trillion or 52% of total e-Commerce sales in 2019, Chinese mobile commerce could reach USD 2.236 trillion by 2021.

The most preferred payment methods in China are Alipay, WeChat Pay, and UnionPay.

Credit card penetration in China remains slow, predicted to grow from 16% in 2014 to 44% in 2025. UnionPay, also known as China UnionPay or CUP, is a major card scheme in mainland China.

Instead, over 400 million users prefer to rely on alternative payment platforms. Mobile payments are massively popular in China. The market is divided between Alipay, China’s most popular third-party online payment service, with a 54% share, and WeChat Pay, the mobile payment and digital wallet service, holding just under 40%.

The popularity of mobile applications within the Chinese context is due, in no small part, to their ability to combine social interaction, financial tracking, relevant advertising, and the ease of doing payments within a single ecosystem.

Alipay

Alipay is a Chinese online payment method developed by a multinational technology company Alibaba Group. Alipay works as a digital wallet allowing customers to conduct transactions directly from their mobile devices.

This payment method covers more than a half of all online transactions in China making it the most popular online payment service in the region. Alipay is supported by national banks in China and is available in different currencies.

To learn more about Alipay features and benefits, click here.

WeChat Pay

WeChat Pay is China’s fastest growing payment method. It forms part of the WeChat ecosystem, which is a social network, work collaboration tool, and commerce platform rolled into one entity. WeChat Pay is supported online, on mobile and in store. Transactions take place in the app, either via the retailer’s official WeChat account or via the in-app web browser.

Learn more about WeChat Pay here.

UnionPay

UnionPay is the largest card scheme in the world by number of cards issued.

Learn more about China UnionPay here.

Payment methods in Southeast Asia

Indonesia

Indonesia's eCommerce market is booming and expected to show an annual growth rate (2021-2025) of 10.21%, resulting in a projected market volume of $56 billion USD by 2025.

As roughly 150 million Indonesians still lack a bank account, cash payments are crucial. Another rising trend in the country is payments in installments. Cards are slowly gaining popularity in the country. More traditional payment methods, such as online banking, bank transfers, and over-the-counter payments, are also preferred by Indonesian consumers. Krung Thai Bank, Bank of Ayudhya, United Overseas Bank, Bank Central Asia, Rakyat, Bank Mandiri, and Bank Negara are the most popular banks in the country.

With over 95% of Indonesia's 268 million population already using alternative payment methods, accepting local payment methods is a must to reach a critical mass of consumers there.

OVO

Over 110 million people are already using OVO in Indonesia.

Doku

DOKU is one of the most popular electronic payment solutions in Indonesia with over 2.5 million registered e-Wallet users, and this number is only growing amongst millennials. Connecting DOKU allows you to unlock a variety of payment options to offer: Virtual Accounts, Bank Transfer, eWallets, and payments at convenience stores.

Learn more about accepting DOKU payments here.

Virtual Accounts

Virtual Accounts is a very popular local payment method in Indonesia that allows customers to pay from ATMs, Internet banking or mobile banking using a unique 16-digit payment code. Virtual accounts are similar to bank account numbers, however this method does not expose users' bank account information.

Learn more about connecting Virtual Accounts here.

Over-the-counter payments in supermarkets

Payments in supermarkets and convenience stores remain one of the most popular payment methods in Indonesia due to the high proportion of the unbanked population and relatively slow credit card adoption. Payments at convenience stores, including the top two chains with 30,000 stores nationwide, Indomaret and Alfamart, remain a very popular payment method.

Alfamart is a popular payment method in Indonesia. It is a convenience store chain that allows its customers to purchase online goods in cash.

Learn more about accepting payments with Alfamart here.

The Philippines

The payments landscape in the Philippines is diverse. Cash payments are widespread, mostly due to low finance inclusion: only 32% of the population has a personal or a jointly owned bank account. Projecting significant changes to this tendency in the near future is difficult, mostly due to the fact that uptake is not growing as rapidly as in other countries within the region.

e-Wallets, such as the local GCash or Smart Money, are present on the market, but do not account for a significant portion of the local population.

Although there is a possibility that the popularity of smartphones will embrace technological innovation and boost the usage of e-Wallets in the future, as happened in China, the most popular option for online payments is online banking. Banks, such as Banco de Oro, Metrobank, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Unionbank, and Asia United Bank (AUB) are not only popular for online payments, but also for their recently improved online banking apps.

GrabPay

GrabPay is a popular payment method in the Philippines. It is a mobile e-Wallet used for cashless purchases.

Local consumers use GrabPay to pay bills, transfer money to local bank accounts or other GrabPay e-Wallets.

Learn more about connecting GrabPay here.

GCash

GCash is a popular payment method in the Philippines, too. It is a mobile e-Wallet, widely used by customers to send or receive money, pay bills and shop online.

Learn more about connecting GCash method here.

Coins.ph

Coins.ph mobile app provides consumers with direct access to banking and digital payment services, including local and international remittances, mobile air-time, bill payments, game credits, and online shopping.

Learn more about connecting Coins.ph here.

Cash payments in banks

Cash payments in banks is another popular payment method in the Philippines. Users can pay at the counter of the following banks: Banco de Oro, Chinabank, EastWest, Landbank, Metrobank, PNB, RCBC, Robinsons Bank, RCBC, Security Bank, UCPB and Unionbank.

Learn more here.

Convenience stores

Cash payments in convenience stores is one of the most popular payment methods in the Philippines. With ECOMMPAY’s integration, customers can pay at the counter of the following stores: 7-Eleven, Bayad Center, Cebuana Lhuillier, ECPay, LBC, M. Lhuillier, Robinsons Department Store, RuralNet, SM Supermarket.

Learn more about this method here.

Vietnam

The Vietnamese economy is highly dependent on cash, with almost 90% of all transactions in the country paid for in cash. However, the Vietnamese government has launched several initiatives to combat the low banking penetration, aiming to have at least 70% of citizens over the age of 15 possess bank accounts by the end of 2020.

This promises to have an effect on e-Commerce, which reached USD 4 billion in 2019. The country still has room for improving both the local regulatory environment and transport infrastructure, which would help it move up from its current 39th rank in the Logistics performance index and 70th place in the Doing Business ranking.

Online Banking

Online banking is crucial in Vietnam, with Vietcombank, Vietinbank, Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, Asia Commercial Bank, Techcombank, and VPBank as the most popular service providers. Cards also occupy a portion of the market share, with nearly 91 million cards in circulation, but with a low use rate. The explanation for this is the low density of ATMs in rural areas, where 70% of the population live.

Learn more about accepting online banking payments in Vietnam here.

Ngan Luong

Ngân Lượng is a popular e-Wallet in Vietnam. This payment method is widely used among Vietnamese e-Commerce merchants to accept payments and make payouts.

Learn more about accepting Ngan Luong payments here.

VN Post

ECOMMPAY’s integration allows merchants to accept cash payments made by consumers at the counters of Vietnam Post (VN Post). Read more about VN Post payments here.

Viettel Post

ECOMMPAY’s integration enables merchants to accept cash payments made by customers at the counters of Viettel Post.

Read more about payments via Viettel Post here.

Thailand

Thailand has relatively high banking penetration, but lags behind in terms of internet usage. While Thailand is ranking 45th in the World Bank’s Logistics performance index, the country’s Business Regulation level is comparably high, taking the 26th place. The local e-Commerce market still amounted to USD 3.56 billion in 2017, projected to almost double by 2021, reaching USD 6.84 billion.

Online Banking

Thai consumers, 81% of whom have a bank account, rely on conventional payment methods, such as online banking. Bangkok Bank, Kasikorn Bank, Siam Commercial Bank, Krungthai Bank, TMB Bank, Bank of Ayudhya, and CIMB Bank are the most popular service providers of this payment option.

Learn more about online banking here

Card payments

Despite the popularity of cash payments, Cards and e-Wallets are also present. There are nearly 80 million bank cards in use in Thailand, and 75% of them are bank debit cards. In this regard, mobile phone operators are stepping in and providing their own e-Wallets (akin to SMART Money in the Philippines). This is true for the most popular e-Wallet in Thailand, True Money, which is a product of a mobile telecommunications operator TrueMove.

Convenience stores

Cash payments in convenience stores is one of the most popular payment methods in Thailand. ECOMMPAY’s integration enables payments at The Big C supermarket chain, allowing customers to pay online utility bills in cash at its stores.

Learn more about connecting cash payments at the Big C here.

Malaysia

Reaching sales volumes of USD 4.3 billion in 2020, Malaysia, despite having a smaller population, enjoys both high internet and banking penetration rates. This is partially reflected in the country’s comparatively high quality of business regulation. Malaysia is ranked 24th in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking, between Iceland and Mauritius. In 2024, e-Commerce sales are projected to amount to USD 8.1 billion, and domestic growth is projected to steadily increase over the coming years.

In Malaysia, credit/debit cards enjoy considerable popularity. In 2018, 21% of the population had a debit card. Payments via cards are becoming increasingly widespread as consumers are becoming more familiar with this payment method, considering it as a safe way to pay for goods and services.

Online banking in Malaysia

Malaysian consumers usually own several credit and debit cards. Online banking has also had a significant impact on the local payments landscape, with such banks as Hong Leong, Maybank, CIMB, RHB Bank, and Public Bank Berhad offering this option.

Learn more about online banking in Malaysia here.

Boost

Boost is an e-Wallet, a secure cashless payment solution popular in Malaysia. It is used by 8.8 million users to purchase goods online, pay bills, buy tickets, pay transport services, order food, and top up balance.

Learn more about Boost e-Wallet here.

MCash

MCash is a digital wallet service provider with more than 500,000 community members, utilizing its micro-payment services.

Learn more about connecting MCash payment method to your online business here.

Japan

Japan has high internet, banking, and card penetration rates, leading to the popularity of e-Commerce among local consumers.

In 2019, 38% of purchases were made online, with total retail sales reaching USD 1.3 trillion. Additionally, Japan is ranked quite high in the World Bank’s Logistics performance index (#5 in 2019), reflecting a high level of trade and transport infrastructure, as well as a high overall quality of logistics services.

The statistics show that 98% of the population have a bank account, 87% own a debit card, and 68% own a credit card. Besides the traditional Visa and Mastercard, businesses looking to work in Japan should consider offering domestic card brand JCB as a card payment option. This is particularly convenient for foreign businesses since they are able to tap into the country’s consumer base by offering a method already popular in their region.

Other than cards, Japanese consumers pay for goods and services via online banking and via payment cards or cash in convenience stores. For example, by checking out with Konbini, consumers are able to pay at convenience stores, such as 7-Eleven, throughout Japan.

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