The digital transformation in APAC and the move towards cashless societies – interview with AsiaPay

Monday 22 February 2021 07:47 CET | Editor: Alex Guzu | Interview

The Paypers has interviewed Joseph Chan, CEO & Founder of AsiaPay, to learn more about the digital transformation in APAC and the move towards cashless societies

In 2020, the payments industry had to adapt to the swift growth registered by the ecommerce industry. How well is the APAC payments infrastructure equipped to support this move towards digital?

Nowadays, more and more global retail and hospitality brands gear up their regional pan-APAC digital transformation plan to boost sales and services. They aim to address cultural diversity and the main developments happening at a different pace across Asian countries, the fragmented ecommerce market, and payment adoption (e.g., credit card adoption in Hong Kong or Singapore is greater than 90%, while in Indonesia, Vietnam, or Myanmar it is less than 5%). Moreover, with a more digital-ready young generation, a pan-APAC payment platform for businesses and banks would play an important role in future.

AsiaPay does just that, facilitating digitalisation across the region on a single, integrated platform for businesses and banks and continuing to scale up from its current connection to over 100 banks and over 100 alternate payment players in 11 countries in Asia, as well as over 60 checkout platforms – thus providing integrated payment processing and management across card, net banking, e-wallets, cash counters, buy-now-pay-later, and so on in APAC, for online, mobile, and other digital channels.

On the digital innovation side, in addition to our in-house R&D effort on UI/UX, tokenisation, big data, and so on, we further join Plug-and- Play and establish an aggressive partnership with more startups and startup programmes in the region across chatbot, AI, and smart commerce. This allows us to fast-track digital innovation and provide advanced digital solutions for merchants and banks in order to enhance sales, competitive edge, and streamline services.

Additionally, we are customer-centric, following the market and technological trends (e.g., live streaming commerce, conversational commerce, social commerce for new services and solution reference), and we work closely with card schemes and wallet operators to bring the latest international standards and payment products to the market (for example, 3-D Secure 2.0, SRCI).

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea of cashless societies is even more tangible than before. What does this mean for communities that are heavily reliant on cash, and how does the payments and ecommerce industry address this challenge?

Due to COVID-19 and the lockdown, the entire work-life/personal life/trade/demand ecosystem has changed significantly around the globe. We believe that the ‘new normal’ further drives the adoption and growth of digital payments, also streamlining the expansion of businesses towards digital sales channels.

Even before the pandemic, the digital transformation and disruption have been ongoingly driven by technological trends, government initiatives, and innovation in private sectors. Numerous initiatives – such as Smart Commerce, Smart City, self-checkout, new digital wallets, virtual bank (AfterPay/ZipPay) – continue to fuel the growth of digital payments and further support the move towards a cashless society, while also aiming for financial inclusion. This trend continues with more initiatives on IoT and 5G that are expected to accelerate the process. Be prepared for it. With the consumer in mind, we welcome this change, as it is secure and convenient, and the new generation is key when it comes to adopting new technology and new forms of customer experience and payment. This change is also benefitting the merchants, as it plays a part in minimising retail operation, checkout payment friction, currency conversion, or other risks especially associated with cash handling. And just as an appropriate diet keeps people healthy, businesses today need a good plan, or perhaps a D.I.E.T., as we call it:

  1. Digital strategy – every company needs to have one. 

  2. Investment for future – not seeing digital transformation/payment as an expense, but as an investment for the future (i.e., better know your customers and their spending and payment behaviour, enhance sales and service, increase productivity, and improve brand and competitive edge).

  3. Embrace changes – changes in business and economic environment, technology, mobility, consumer behaviours.

  4. Talent – find the right resources to support you in formulating and driving the strategy and changes.

What can merchants do to boost cross-border conversion rates in this context?

It is important to provide access to a broader range of convenient payment options, currencies, and seamless authentication, which can readily optimise sales conversion especially from overseas customers. Brand awareness and marketing, together with logistics, are key as well – not to mention the quality and price of the products and services. In addition, for marketplaces, it is paramount to provide the right language interfaces, as it can be a key barrier in reaching a broader audience. Prior to buying certain things, consumers will find them easier to purchase if you will make the shopping decision much easier and if they have the option of paying in their home currency. When it comes to currency processing for merchants, one of the solutions that meet their needs is dynamic currency conversion – or dynamic currency conversion on top of multi-currency pricing. Beyond that, for buy-now-pay-later plans are growing in popularity among customers who seek more financial flexibility when shopping either in-store or online. This is quite popular now in the Asian market for merchants that want to seize the opportunity represented by overseas customers.

How can AsiaPay support the change towards the new future and streamline the adoption of digital payment solutions across different countries?

For merchants, the priority is to make the payment process as friction-free as possible in order to minimise the risk of cart abandonment. At AsiaPay, we offer a wide variety of payment options, allowing customers to use the payment mechanism of their choice, and we provide value-added services that go beyond payment acceptance, from anti-fraud, instalment, to real-time payment analytic dashboard. Additionally, with over 100 payment methods and bank partners, AsiaPay is the leading digital payment processing service and solution house in Asia, offering advanced, integrated, digital payment processing solutions to banks and e-Businesses around the world, backed by experienced digital payment professionals providing quality support on the ground across 11 markets in Asia.

This editorial was first published in our Cross-Border Payments and Ecommerce Report 2020–2021, which assesses the change of pace that occurred in 2020 and provides a comprehensive overview of the major trends driving growth in this space, being the ultimate source of information for players interested in selling across borders.

About Joseph Chan

Joseph Chan founded the company in August 2000. He spearheaded the company and product development together with his management team, to become one of the most successful digital payment service and technology companies in Asia, with operations covering 14 country operations. Through successive positions in banking and finance industries, he has consolidated his expertise and experience in strategic planning, management, and implementation of financial, electronic banking, Internet, and mobile product services and systems in Asia.

About AsiaPay

Founded in 2000, AsiaPay is a premier digital payment solution and technology vendor in Asia, striving to bring advanced, secure, integrated, and cost-effective digital payment processing solutions and services to banks and e-businesses around the world. Our integrated payment services cover credit and debit cards, bank account/net banking, digital wallets, over-the-counters, buy-now-pay-later, and other digital means.

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Keywords: Joseph Chan, AsiaPay, APAC, digital transformation, merchants, online payments
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Countries: Asia
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