An Overview of E-Wallet Penetration Across Southeast Asia

Learn more about how and why e-wallets have made such an impact in recent years.

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Besides its dynamic economy and youthful population, governments in SE Asia are usually business-friendly and hungry for foreign investments. And all of this is what makes Asia such a sought-after business destination.

While COVID has wreaked havoc on the region, it's also opened several new opportunities in e-wallets and e-commerce. According to a 2021 study, Southeast Asia had the highest rate of e-wallet penetration globally, with numbers expected to rise even more in the years to come.

Want to know the reason behind this explosive growth? Keep on reading to find out.

Table of Contents


Southeast Asia's Digital Revolution

SE Asia is currently undergoing rapid digitalization thanks to affordable smartphones and easy access to the internet. This, coupled with a tech-savvy population and high demand for e-commerce, has encouraged the widespread adoption of e-wallets and other alternative payment methods (APMs).

Opening Up Financial Services

Besides digitalization, the lack of access to financial services has been a strong driving force for e-wallets and APMs. Instead of relying on financial institutions, unbanked communities can use e-wallets to store, send, and receive money. Besides that, Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) and delayed payment options provide these sidelined communities with much-needed short-term financing.

Government Initiatives

During the COVID pandemic, governments throughout SE Asia worked swiftly to curb the spread of the virus. The Malaysian government, for example, distributed cash aid via Touch n' Go to encourage the adoption of e-wallets. This has paid off remarkably, with Malaysia registering the highest usage of e-wallets in SE Asia.

The Growth of E-Commerce

Outside of China and the United States, the SE Asian e-commerce market is one of the largest in the world. With millions confined to their homes during the COVID outbreak, many turned to the internet for their shopping needs. And with e-wallets facilitating online purchases, it's easy to see why adoption rates grew exponentially in the wake of COVID.

So, now, we ask the question: which are the big names that you should know about:

Top Wallets Across SE Asia
1. Singapore - DBS PayLah!

More than 60% of Singaporeans use DBS PayLah! — a bank-based e-wallet app for their online transactions. It's provided by Singapore's DBS Bank and supported all over Singapore.

2. Malaysia - Touch n' Go

Touch n' Go is the wallet of choice for most Malaysians, with 82.4% of Malaysians using it for online payments. The company behind Touch n' Go also produces cards and RFID chips used to pay for tolls on highways in Malaysia.

3. Indonesia - OVO

In Indonesia, OVO is the most favored e-wallet in the country. The e-wallet is closely associated with Grab and has partnered with Indonesia's largest e-commerce platform, Tokopedia. With more than 100 million active users, it's easy to see why OVO has such a dominant position in Indonesian society.

4. Thailand - TrueMoney

Created by fintech giant Ascend Money, TrueMoney has leveraged its partnerships with major brands to differentiate it from its competitors. This allows TrueMoney users to use the app to pay for transactions at the Apple store or Alibaba.

5. Hong Kong - Alipay

Given the city's proximity to China, it should be no surprise that Alipay is Hong Kong's most used e-wallet. According to a survey conducted in 2020, about 67% of Hong Kong's residents use Alipay for most of their purchases.

6. The Philippines - GCash

GCash's app allows its users to send and receive money, pay bills, and shop online at e-commerce stores. It is owned by Mynt and has 33 million registered users as of 2021.

For a more conclusive look at alternative payment methods and e-wallet usage across Asia, check out this article.

How this can benefit your business

As we can see, e-wallet usage will become increasingly popular in the years to come. The ease of use offered by such platforms provides consumers with a fast, hassle-proof way to complete their transactions.

E-wallets also serve to benefit merchants as well by:
1. Allowing Faster Checkouts

E-wallets are a great way for merchants to simplify and speed up the checkout process. This applies to both brick-and-mortar and online establishments. A slow, overly complicated checkout process is one of the leading causes of cart abandonment and will only serve to frustrate customers.

Ensuring that your business's quick and easy checkout process provides customers with a positive experience. This, in turn, encourages repeat business and improves your customer retention rates.


2. Providing Better Security

E-wallets do not require customers to provide any financial information when performing a transaction. This reduces the customer and merchant's risk exposure as neither party will never have to handle any sensitive data, which makes it significantly harder for scammers and hackers to steal your data.

Also, e-wallets use robust encryption protocols to protect their user's data. This gives customers the confidence to purchase goods or services from an online business that supports their chosen e-wallets.


3. Enabling Easy Refunds

Refunds are an unavoidable part of any business. But by using an e-wallet, business owners can at least smoothen out the entire process. Thus, allowing the merchant to salvage the situation and turn a negative experience into a positive one.

4. Opening Up Access to Larger Markets

As internet penetration and mobile usage rise around the world, e-commerce will also follow suit. And through the use of e-wallets, merchants can now tap into previously inaccessible markets.

However, catering to such a diverse market isn't easy. After all, there are dozens of e-wallet providers to contend with various restrictions, so keeping track of it all is virtually impossible.

XanPay: Connecting All of Asia

And it is for this exact reason that XanPay was founded: to provide merchants with a payment platform that supports users all across Asia. From Singapore to Thailand, Malaysia to Indonesia, Australia to Korea, XanPay has got you covered.

With our service, you can expect:An overview of e-wallet penetration across southeast asia-02

And the results speak for themselves. Our clients in Thailand and Singapore have benefited tremendously from our range of offerings by expanding into new markets across Asia. For more on how XanPay can help you grow your business, check out our website.

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