East Drives West: Asian Payment Methods

The East has been at the forefront of digital innovation for almost two decades, leapfrogging traditional rails and systems. From how to socialize to where to work, different aspects of our daily life migrated to an online reality, including our way to pay.

With the Philippines averaging 25 years, India at 29 years, and Indonesia at 31, the continent is packed with digital natives, unlike the United States where the median age is 38 or the European Union at 44. Consequently, the region technological advancement is fueled by the younger population hunger for innovation, putting Asian digital adoption one step ahead of the rest of the world.

In this article, we’ll explore well established and early-adoption payment methods in the region.

From innovation to everyday payment method


Electronic or digital wallets store financial information on a user’s mobile devices, facilitating online purchases, bill payment, or money transference, without the need of cash nor cards. The top preferred e-wallet providers in the region include Alipay, WeChat Pay, Apple Pay, GCash, Kakao Pay, not to mention Grab and Venmo.

To better understand the wide adoption of e-wallets in Asia Pacific, we can refer to TechWire Asia, which predicts 72% of all e-commerce payments will be made through e-wallets by 2025. Furthermore, predictions by PwC, estimate e-wallet transaction volumes in Asia Pacific will be around $114 billion trillion by the same year.

P2P and P2M transactions

Peer to peer (P2P) refer to the direct transfer of funds between individuals, whereas Peer to merchant (P2M) translates a user payment to businesses. Because it doesn’t use intermediaries like banks, benefits include, speed, and cost-effectiveness, in addition to not needing cash or checks.

In Asia, the widespread adoption of payment apps like Alipay, WeChat Pay, and Paytm has fueled the growth of this payment method. By 2019 over 1 billion people were using mobile wallets in the continent.

We can consider the case of PayNow, a P2P payment network in Singapore that had 5.5 million users by 2022. Meanwhile, in India, transaction volume of P2M was expected to reach 52% of all UPI, a Unified Payments Interface, transaction volume by the end of 2023.

BNPL services

Customers are always looking for flexibility, that’s where Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) payment method enters the picture. By giving consumers the opportunity to make purchases and pay them in installment payments without interest or with low fees.

This payment method has witnessed a gradual steady growth in popularity in Asian countries like Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia. According to Fisglobal in PwC, BNPL accounted for more than USD $100 billion in e-commerce transactions in APAC in 2022.

Moreover, Southeast Asia presents a promising landscape for this payment method, with a projected market growth reaching USD $33.6 billion by 2027. Notable key players include Atome, Shopback, and Pace in Singapore; Split and Pine Labs in Malaysia; and Cashalo, Plentina, and Tendopay in the Philippines.

The evolving payment landscape

From the bustling metropolises of East Asia to the flourishing economies of Southeast Asia, the continent dominates the global shift towards digitalization. The evolution of the Asian payment industry has resulted in a variety of solutions designed to meet the needs and preferences of consumers and businesses across the region.

In the following section, we’ll explore some of the dynamic solutions driving global payment transformation.

QR code payment

This payment method allows customers to pay in two simple steps: scan the QR code and initiate the transaction process. Unlike traditional pull payment methods, QR codes facilitate a push payment model, reducing the propensity for chargeoffs. Additionally, small businesses lacking a point of sale (POS) can use it as a practical solution.

According to Visa’s consumer payment attitudes study 2022, QR code payments are most often used in Thailand and Indonesia, where over half of surveyed consumer are active users. The same study states consumers’ interest rate in using QR codes is around 85% in countries such as Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Meaning, the use of this payment method is only going to increase.

Biometric payment

This payment method leverages biometric authentication of unique physiological characteristics like fingerprints recognition, facial recognition, or iris scanning. Biometric payment enhance security by reducing the dependence on PINs or passwords.

Grand View Research anticipates that Asia Pacific will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 63.6% from 2020 to 2030. The popularity of this payment method can be attributed to the benefits biometric payment cards have in comparison with NFC cards, such as no transaction limit.

Voice-activated Payments

Transactions initiated and completed through virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri, are known as voice-activated payments or voice commerce. This payment method allows users to shop, send money, and pay bills using language commands.

The growth of this payment method can be attributed to its growing awareness in countries like China, India, and Japan. For instance, in July 2021, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) announced that it is testing voice-based payments services for phones in India.

Navigating the Complexities of Asian Payment Markets with Yuno

As the Asian payment landscape rapidly transforms, so do the challenges related to security and privacy. In this environment, robust authentication protocols and stringent data protection measures are essential for safeguarding consumer trust and safety.

Addressing these challenges in Asia's dynamic markets has historically demanded significant collaboration among stakeholders to craft payment ecosystems that are both responsive and resilient. Yuno revolutionizes this process by offering businesses the ability to integrate diverse payment methods effortlessly.

With just one click, companies can enhance their transaction approval rates and fortify their security. Discover how Yuno can be your strategic partner in mastering cross-border commerce, book a demo to explore a new horizon in payment solutions.