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A new wave of financial technology is sweeping across South-east Asia, and at the heart of it is the QR code payment system. According to a recent study from Juniper Research, the volume of QR code payments in this burgeoning market is projected to rise astronomically from 13 billion in 2023 to a staggering 90 billion by 2028.
Explosive Growth in South-east Asia
This monumental growth in South-east Asia and other developing markets can be attributed to the financial inclusivity that QR payments offer. By enabling unbanked users to access digital payments, QR codes are revolutionizing the way people transact in these regions.
Unlike Western markets, where adoption has been minimal, QR payment markets are thriving in developing countries, emphasizing the global divide in this technology.
Driving Factors: National Schemes and Cross-Border Interoperability
National QR payment schemes such as India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Brazil’s Pix have played a pivotal role in encouraging market adoption. The success of these platforms has inspired similar initiatives in countries like Kenya and Bangladesh.
However, a significant boost to market volume is expected to come from cross-border interoperability within South-east Asian markets. Countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand have already unified their payment standards, allowing businesses to accept payments from international visitors using domestic digital wallets.
With Singapore and the Philippines also planning to collaborate by year-end, the move towards unifying payments across the region is unmistakable.
A Western Perspective: P2P Transfers Gain Traction
While overall adoption of QR payments remains low in Western markets, QR peer-to-peer (P2P) bank transfers have made noticeable strides since 2022. Services like Belgium’s Payconiq and Spain’s Bizum have found favor among users, indicating a growing acceptance of QR-based payment methods.
Companies like Revolut and Vipps MobilePay are spearheading P2P and business-based QR solutions across Europe, leveraging reduced transaction fees to enhance adoption. Payment providers aiming for success are encouraged to focus on competitive pricing to rival established local payment methods.
Conclusion: A New Era of Digital Transactions
The surge in QR code payments in South-east Asia is more than just a trend; it signifies a transformative shift in the region’s financial landscape. By fostering inclusivity and providing a convenient platform for both domestic and international transactions, QR codes are not merely an alternative but are fast becoming the preferred mode of payment.
While the Western world may be lagging in overall adoption, the rising popularity of P2P QR transfers demonstrates that there’s potential for growth in these markets as well.
As the world marches towards more digitalized and convenient forms of transaction, QR codes are emerging as a key player in shaping the future of payments. It’s a story that’s just beginning in some parts of the world, but in South-east Asia, it’s a revolution that’s well underway.