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Visa examines consumer payment trends in Southeast Asia

The Southeast Asian payment environment has seen a remarkable transformation over the past decade. Innovative new technologies have helped to enable a global expansion of Internet access, in addition to increased mobile device ownership. But these are just a few of the many trends impacting the consumer payment landscape.

In a recently released study, global payments giant Visa dives into the world of consumer payments in Southeast Asia. The rise of new mobile technologies in particular has distorted the lines between off- and online commerce, especially considering the recent onslaught of app based on-demand services that includes companies like Uber and Deliveroo – names that consumers worldwide are likely to be familiar with. With an aim to better understand consumer attitudes around this changing environment, Visa conducted its Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Survey. In its newly published report – The Road Ahead: Consumer Payment Trends in Southeast Asia – Visa details the findings of this survey.

The key objective of Visa’s research was to evaluate the attitudes, perceptions and preferences of consumers towards the modern payment environment, and to gauge the potential future appetite for embracing new methods of making payments. To achieve this, a survey was carried out among 3,000 consumers across Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. According to survey findings, consumers’ demand for a quick, simple, and secure payment experience endures in Southeast Asia.

Throughout the region, consumer preference for card payments in lieu of payments by cash is on the increase. On average, more than half of all consumers now prefer to use payment cards when conducting a purchase. This year it seems that consumers are also carrying less cash in their wallets, especially in the countries of Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand.

Another notable development is the increasing popularity of online shopping – approximately 70% of survey respondents indicated shopping online at least once a month. That being said, only 36 per cent of the region’s population is currently active Internet users, which suggests there is still significant opportunity for growth in this sector. A final survey outcome of note was the uptake in mobile commerce, and Singapore is leading this trend with nearly a quarter of respondents in the tiny country reporting having made a purchase online via their mobile phone.

What’s in the report?

The report begins by describing the end of the era of cash and cheques, highlighting the aforementioned rise in the preference for payments by card. In the following section, the rise of eCommerce and mCommerce is outlined in detail, with particular emphasis given to the increasing popularity of online shopping, the emergence of the promising mCommerce sector, and opportunities for the road ahead. Another substantial section of the report then offers an in-depth examination of mobile payments and digital wallets. The final section of the report offers a look into future payment trends, specifying the four most important among these for Southeast Asia:

  • Increased variety of payment platforms
  • Contactless payments faster than cash
  • Mobile wallets will transform the payments experience
  • Wearable devices as a future option for payments


To read or download a [PDF] copy of the Visa report – The Road Ahead: Consumer Payment Trends in Southeast Asia – click here.

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