Compared to the global average, one study found that 94% of APAC consumers were considering using emerging payment methods this year.

In a survey conducted in Feb-Mar this year with 15,569 consumers across 18 markets globally, including 1000+ respondents each in India, Australia and Thailand, 84% of respondents in the Asia Pacific region (APAC) had acquired access to more ways to pay compared to one year ago.

Also, 74% of respondents indicated that they would shop at small businesses with greater frequency if additional payment options were available.

The survey commissioned by Mastercard also suggested other emergent trends over the past year:

  1. While 88%of respondents had used at least one emerging payment type in the last year, two-thirds (64%) of all respondents (including 75% of millennials) said they had tried new payment methods that they would not have tried if there had not been a pandemic.

    80% of respondents agreed to prompts that they now preferred to shop at stores that have both an in-person and online presence, and 69% were more excited to shop at retailers that offer the latest payment methods. Some 60% of consumers polled said they would avoid merchants that do not accept electronic payments of any kind.
  2. Among various emerging payment methods:
    QR Codes were more popular in APAC
    Of respondents that used QR codes for payment, 63% said they used them more frequently in the last year than they had in the past.

    In both Thailand and India, the number is 64%, above the global average of 56%. In APAC, 76% of respondents perceived new payment methods like QR codes to be cleaner; 71% perceived QR codes as more convenient for in-person payments as they were likely consumers using their own mobile device.

    In Thailand and India, 77% and 71% of consumers respectively perceived QR codes to be secure while 67% and 64% respectively perceived cash as a secure form of payment.

    Cryptocurrency gained ground
    Among APAC respondents, 45% said they were likely to consider using cryptocurrency in the next year, compared to the 12% that already used it in the last year, and higher than the global average of 40%. Millennials and centennials indicated there were relatively more comfortable using cryptocurrency (41%) compared to Gen X and Boomers (26%), with 71% of millennials saying they were more open to using it than they were a year ago.
    More consumers in Thailand (46%) and India (44%) were comfortable using cryptocurrency as compared to consumers in Australia (17%).
    While consumer interest in cryptocurrency, especially floating digital currencies such as Bitcoin was high, there was an indication of the need for more consumer choice, protection and regulatory compliance for such a payment method.

    Biometrics authentication gaining acceptance
    Perceptions of safety and convenience have been front and center for people over the past year, with 64% of APAC respondents indicating that they were excited about the potential of biometric verification methods like gait or walk assessments and fingerprint authorization. Some 62% felt safer using biometrics to verify a purchase than entering a personal identity code.
  1. In APAC, one 27% of respondents reported that they had been victims of fraud in the last year. Some 79% indicated they would be open to trying new payment technologies if they perceived them to be safe, while 85% wanted to be sure the payment options offered by a merchant are secure.

    Respondents placed trust in issuers and networks to provide tools that keep their financial information secure, with 45% ‘agreeing’ that they would place their trust in their payment provider to follow security best practices, so they can be more hands-off.

    The top reasons given for not trying new payment methods included security concerns (47%) and data protection concerns (42%).
  2. 69% of APAC respondents said they planned to use cash less frequently in 2021. Some 68% of APAC respondents anticipated using digital or mobile wallets—higher than the global average of 62%.

According to the firm’s Executive Vice President, Products & Innovation (Asia Pacific), Sandeep Malhotra: “People in APAC haven’t just adopted new payment technologies—they’ve made deliberate shifts based partly on necessity, but also on considerations around personal safety, security and convenience, at a time when these concerns were paramount. They have already gained recognition globally for their openness to new technologies and innovation. This behavior shift is reinforced by people’s desire for choice, with 85% of APAC respondents saying that they expected to make purchases when they want and how they want. Businesses that can provide multiple ways to shop and pay will be best positioned to meet the unique needs of this moment that are shaping the future of commerce for years to come.”

Enhancing the payment experience

Over the same period, the firm had seen the total number of card-not-present transactions grow by over 30% globally while more than 100 markets saw contactless as a share of total in-person transactions grow by at least 50%.

In the first quarter of 2021 alone, Mastercard saw 1bn more contactless transactions as compared to the same period of 2020, with particular momentum in India and Thailand where usage had grown by 2x and 4x respectively year-over-year.

To maximize the safety, security and convenience of e-commerce, online banking and touchless transactions, Mastercard recently announced the strengthening of its Digital First program in APAC.