Payments have become simpler, swifter, and more secure than we could have ever imagined. With a simple tap or just a fingerprint or retinal scan, consumers can make a purchase in a few quick steps, from anywhere, at virtually any time of day or night. In tandem, merchants are ringing up their cash registers as they shift gears in how they run their businesses in order to keep up with consumers’ evolving needs.
Across Asia Pacific, the revolution in digital payments is contributing to a burgeoning e-commerce market that is expected to be worth . This growing dominance of e-payments and the ubiquity of mobile devices has radically changed the way people transact and more importantly, empowered them with greater convenience and choice in how they shop, commute or conduct business.
Upping the Ante on Payment Convenience
Mobile payments have evolved and scaled rapidly to be quick, effortless and frictionless. In Singapore, vending machines at a new hybrid store concept have gone cashless and consumers can now pay via their smart devices by using Mastercard mobile commerce platform – Vending powered by Masterpass.
QR-based payments are rising in popularity across Asia Pacific as well and have contributed significantly to China’s contactless payments landscape. Mastercard has invested in the development of Mastercard QR, an interoperable QR-based payment solution that provides greater convenience for consumers and merchants with an easy-to-use digital alternative to cash. The contactless platform is particularly beneficial for small and medium enterprises, which account for over 90 percent all enterprises across Asia Pacific. The solution enables them to accept Mastercard payments using a simple EMVCo standard QR code, thereby eliminating the need to invest in a point-of-sale terminal and benefiting merchants with a low-cost alternative.
Governments in Asia Pacific are also tapping into contactless payments as a more efficient way for consumers to move, work and pay. In developed markets such as Singapore and Australia, Mastercard has worked with transport authorities to present seamless and simplified ways to pay while commuting by introducing a single mode of payment that can be used for both transit and everyday transactions. Consumers can now tap and go with their contactless payments cards and save the hassle of having to top up or switch between travel cards.
Growing Channels and Choices
The growing prevalence of networks and technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and biometrics has led to the emergence of alternative forms of digital payments as well.
Consumers in Asia Pacific can now pay across multiple channels including within messaging platforms on social media or with the help of AI-enabled interfaces. Recently, Mastercard showcased the Connected Device API, an application that opens us new payment channels across different interfaces, including a humanoid robot at a Pizza Hut outlet in Singapore. Consumers were able to verbally converse with a robot that was able to take their orders and process payments using Masterpass. For merchants, these new forms of commerce translate to a more efficient business model that does not skimp on customer service.
Keeping Security a Top Priority
A key challenge that comes with an increasingly digital ecosystem is keeping payments safe. It is mission critical – and not optional – to ensure that no effort is spared in combating and conquering the security challenges of an increasingly interconnected world.
Mastercard takes security very seriously and we have invested significantly in it. Our work in implementing global EMV tokenization standards, risk-based authentication technologies and the addition of NuData into our suite of security products all attest to our layered security strategy to safeguard each and every transaction across the globe.
The transition towards cashless societies across Asia Pacific is well and truly afoot, but it is essential for all payments to be built on three fundamental tenets: seamlessness, simplicity and security. A laser focus on this will ensure we are well on our way to a cashless world without boundaries.