Payment culture in Asia


Asia’s favourite online payment methods

E-commerce is growing worldwide, but the inhabitants of the Asia-Pacific region love shopping online. In 2012 alone they spent 461 billion US dollars online, which is 27 percent of the world’s e-commerce turnover [1]. But even more impressive are the growth rates: a cool 34% in 2012. Although credit cards are still the number one payment method for online purchases in the Asia-Pacific region (37 percent), e‑wallets are also particularly popular in the region. Almost one-in-four online purchases (23 percent) are made using e-wallets, compared with only 13 percent in Europe and just five percent in Africa and the Middle East.

As different as day and night

Payment cultures vary from country to country, and the same goes for online payments throughout the world. But what is especially true of the Asia-Pacific region is that the differences from country to country in one region could not be greater. Some examples perhaps? Well, in South Korea for instance, the credit card has almost a monopoly with three out of every four online purchases being paid for by card. In Taiwan on the other hand, credit card payments are not very widespread and only three percent of online purchases there are paid for by card. What doesn’t really work in this region is direct debit. This might be very popular in Germany (22.1%), but in India it is used for only 3.7 percent of purchases and that’s the highest figure in the region! An extreme example is China, where direct debit as a payment method doesn’t exist at all.

E-wallets up and coming

The Chinese prefer to use e-wallets. With 44.3 percent of online purchases, no other country in the world uses this online payment option so intensively, although in Australia one-in-five online purchases are made by e-wallet. Overall, e-wallets are very well represented in the region, but here the exception proves the rule, as e‑wallets are scarcely used in Bangladesh (0.8%), India (1.5%) and Taiwan (1.8%).

Popular alternatives

It isn’t easy for retailers in the region, because alternative payment methods are also very popular, although naturally there are considerable variations if we compare the countries in the region. Mobile payments are a hit in the Philippines, where around 7.5 percent of online purchases are already paid for using this method, compared to only 0.1 percent in Indonesia, and just 0.3 percent in Malaysia and Japan. A special case is Taiwan, where they have a good Internet infrastructure and like shopping online, yet pay offline. More than half of all purchases are paid for by cash on delivery (52%). Payments in shops and to cash machines are also very popular (31%).

Wherever you like to do business, PPRO is happy to help you choose the payment option that is right for you.