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APAC’s Top Payment Methods in 2021

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Unlock the full potential of these 8 APAC nations by understanding consumers’ preferred payment methods.

This post covers payments and e-commerce insights in:

  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand

Southeast Asia has emerged as the roaring lion of ecommece. Growing your business across these markets requires a deep understanding of international payment methods (Carlin). Each Asia Pacific nation has unique localized payment methods and preferences. Companies that identify and successfully implement these preferences will be well-positioned for strong growth in Southeast Asian markets.

8 APAC Nations Fast Becoming eCommerce Behemoths

When looking at the global ecommerce market, the Asia Pacific (APAC) region is projected to be one of the most lucrative in the world (International Monetary Fund). In fact, research has shown that more than half of the world’s shoppers are turning to ecommerce to meet their needs (Criteo). 

Rapyd has identified eight APAC nations that are showing extensive ecommerce growth: India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. Targeting these markets is a great strategy for companies seeking to grow their ecommerce presence in Asia. 

Capitalizing on the tremendous growth in the APAC region will require having specific insight into preferred payment methods that vary significantly from country to country. Examining these trends will shed light on strategies for payment integration that will work across the APAC region. It will also highlight the intricacies of a given nation that need to be noted in order to generate market traction.

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Popular Local and Global Payment Methods Across the APAC

India

India hosts the greatest ecommerce growth rate in the world despite the fact that 735 million Indians still lack internet access, illustrating the potential for extensive continuing growth. Indians engage in significant cross-border shopping and focus largely on app-driven purchasing. Understanding India’s payment methods is key to success here.

Within Indian ecommerce, ewallets and bank transfers dominate. The Paytm ewallet is the most popular online payment method in India, used by 85% of shoppers and preferred by 20%. eWallets are strongly preferred to credit cards in India, highlighting the dramatic growth of this method in the nation. In fact, 53% of those surveyed preferred a UPI-powered bank transfer and ewallet, illustrating the evolving nature of this payment method. 

Indonesia

Indonesia sports a diverse and strong economy. In fact, it has the largest economy in all of Southeast Asia. eCommerce sellers face unique challenges with delivery in this nation of 6,000 islands. There is also a significant need to understand Indonesian payment methods as only 4% of Indonesians use credit cards

There are incredibly diverse online payment methods in Indonesia with many people using ewallets, debit cards, bank transfers, and cash. The biggest area of growth is in the digital wallet space and the top payment method in Indonesia is the OVO wallet. 

Japan

Japan has long been a leader in ecommerce and maintains its status as one of the most desirable markets. It is often difficult for new merchants to break into the Japanese market, only 10% of Japanese people shop on cross-border platforms. Companies hoping to break in must navigate cultural norms and create a customized experience that is information-driven and text dense. 

While credit cards maintain their status as the most popular online payment method in Japan, cash-over-the-counter remains a very important preference. 48% of the population used cash-over-the-counter in the past month with 11% citing it as the preferred method of payment. 

It is important to note that there is a rising diversification of Japanese payment methods. Online payment methods in Japan increasingly involve ewallets. Specifically, PayPay is rapidly gaining popularity and expected to establish itself as the primary ewallet in Japan. However, the nation also sees the use of a number of other ewallets such as Rakuten Pay, and ecommerce companies need to accept a variety of payment methods to succeed. 

Malaysia

Malaysia is one of APAC’s most competitive economies with ecommerce being driven by a combination of infrastructure and the popularity of international brands. 

Bank transfers through Maybank2u is the most popular online payment method in Malaysia while other Malaysian payment methods include credit cards and debit cards. 

Singapore

Singapore is one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world. With an affluent population, Singapore’s ecommerce market is valued at just under $5 billion with 60% shopping cross border. 

The most popular online payment method in Singapore is credit cards – however, PayNow is seeing extremely rapid growth as an online payment method in Singapore. PayNow is a national real-time payment method powered by an association of Singapore banks that has experienced exponential growth. 

eWallets show an interesting trend among Singapore payment methods as they see greater preference than usage, a sign that they will grow in coming years. Expected to comprise 22% of all sales in 2021, ewallets are showing growth due to convenience and loyalty programs. 

South Korea

South Korea sports the highest per-capita broadband internet adoption rate in the world and ecommerce revenue of over $74 billion annually. South Koreans love shopping online at international sites with U.S. sites accounting for 75% of cross-border spending. And mobile purchases dominate ecommerce.

The most used payment method is Shinhan card, while the payment methods most Korean’s say they prefer for online transactions are simple payments such as KakaoPay and Samsung Pay

Taiwan

Taiwan has consistently been a business-friendly nation. Its strong infrastructure also makes it a great place for ecommerce. Cross-border shopping is driven by pricing and availability of goods. Convenience stores are incredibly popular in Taiwan, serving as central hubs for ecommerce by cash payment locations and pickup points. 

The most popular online payment method in Taiwan is credit cards. Other online payment methods include pay on pickup, bank transfer, and LINE pay. LINE pay is an extremely popular digital wallet. Meanwhile, of the various Taiwan payment methods, pay on pickup is perhaps the most unique. Convenience stores like FamilyMart and 7-11 provide shoppers with the ability to pay in cash and picking up goods in person. 

Thailand

Thailand serves as Southeast Asia’s second-largest ecommerce market but still has a great deal of growth potential. 40% of consumers here shop via social commerce platforms, the largest percentage in the world. 

Thailand’s payment methods include a robust ecosystem of options. The most significant change is the movement from cash on delivery to more convenient digital methods. The most popular online payment method in Thailand is True Money, an ewallet from Telco. eWallets and bank transfers are top online payment methods in Thailand, representing over 30% of the population’s favorite methods. 

Accepting Bank Transfer and eWallet Payments Unlocks eCommerce Growth in APAC Nations

There are a number of takeaways from Rapyd’s research into the APAC market. First, there is a vast diversity of payment methods from nation to nation. Additionally, ewallets and bank transfers are seeing tremendous growth across the region and the payment methods merchants offer don’t always match consumers’ expectations. This creates an unmet demand for easy and frictionless checkout experiences and creates an opportunity for merchants that localize their payment experiences. 

Download Rapyd’s Asia Pacific eCommerce and Payments Guide for More In-depth Insights, Charts and Data to Help You Succeed in the Asia Pacific Region. 

 

Sources:

Carlin, P. (2017). Navigating international payment methods for ecommerce. https://www.practicalecommerce.com/navigating-international-payment-methods-for-ecommerce

Criteo. (2020). Ecommerce is booming in Asia Pacific. https://www.criteo.com/blog/ecommerce-asia-pacific-audience-intent-data/

International Monetary Fund. (2020). Regional economic outlook: Asia and Pacific. https://data.imf.org/?sk=ABFF6C02-73A8-475C-89CC-AD515033E662

Photo by Amar Syazwan Rosman via Unsplash

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