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Mobile Payments are Catching on Strong in Southeast Asia


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Thu, 1 Jun. 2017

    Nikkei Asian Review

Cash is still king in Southeast Asia, but may be dethroned sooner rather than later as the region embraces the cashless society using smartphones tied to mobile payment systems.

The region is primed for mobile payment systems: on average, about 50% of the population in six major Southeast Asian nations use smartphones, according to British research firm Euromonitor. That figure is expected to top 70% in 2021, approaching the 80% rate of Japan and the U.S.

Mobile payment systems can also be credited, meaning users can top off their digital wallets in rural areas that do not have banks but do have a shop within a mobile payment network.

Even lesser developed nations have entered the mobile payment arena. Vietnam’s Momo and Myanmar’s OK Dollar were mainly designed to help people wire money to rural areas. Now they can be used at retail stores, restaurants, airline ticket counters and other places.

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