Mobile payments are convenient, secure and easy, so why are adoption rates so different across countries in Asia?

Who uses mobile payments depends on the person as well as the location.

In China, cash has almost completely gone the way of the dinosaurs, as they say.  Trying to pay for things in cash or with a credit card in many shops is now impossible as more services are only available to those using WeChat Pay or AliPay.  Per the article on Rappler, both services have higher user counts than Apple Wallet which comes standard on iPhones.

It’s fair to say that China has the most advanced e-payment services in the world.  Neighboring countries are catching up to varying degrees.  Many have developed local e-wallet programs and some banks are also jumping into the game.

Adoption rates for anything new are impacted by trust.  Is the payment secure?  Will the payment service also be able to access personal information stored in the phone?  Change is difficult in any case as old habits take time to be replaced.

Slow adoption rates also reflect the country’s infrastructure.  Faster internet speeds, inexpensive and accessible mobile data are prerequisites for mobile payments.

For countries such as China, Singapore and Hong Kong mobile payments have or will soon reach the tipping point.  Locations like the Philippines and Myanmar, cash remains king.  At least for the moment.



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