QR Code payment is gaining popularity in Southeast Asia

The QR Code (Quick Response Code) was invented by Denso Wave in 1994 to track vehicles during the manufacturing cycle. However, with its ease of use and fast readability, led to widespread interest and uses, ranging from mobile operating systems to video games.

While QR codes are widely used by Japanese companies, they only achieved ubiquitous status through China payment behemoths, Alipay and WeChat Pay. The convenience and privacy of QR codes makes QR code mobile system easily adoptable unlike Apply Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay, as QR code payment does not require an internet connection to work. Therefore, it is one of the top reasons behind its rising popularity in Southeast Asia.

Riding on the coattails of the Chinese experience, the ASEAN government have recognised the advantages of adopting QR code payment system and are making significant inroads in terms of implementation in their respective countries as they move towards a cashless society. Singapore is arguably the most advanced nation when it comes to implementation of QR codes and cashless payment solutions. In August 2017, the national payments council established an industry taskforce to develop a common SG QR code that can be used as a convenient cashless payment method for merchants. Notwithstanding that, local banks DBS and OCBC have also launched their own QR code payment modes for their customers. Other important stakeholders like NETSPay (with NETS QR), as well as GrabPay have also entered the payments industry, each with their own customer base thus lowering the barriers of entry into the world of cashless payment.

In other ASEAN nations, steps have also been taken to adopt QR code payment modes. For example, the Bank of Thailand has approved plans by five commercial banks to introduce QR code payment transaction services. This was recently put on trial at Bangkok’s famous Chatuchak market, where small vendors and service providers (e.g. taxis) accepting cashless payment through QR codes. Whereas in Malaysia, the Association of Banks in Malaysia, together with the National Cards Group, comprising of 25 Malaysian banks and non-bank credit-card issuers such as Mastercard, are in talks with the central bank to enact a new policy framework governing cashless payment modes. In Indonesia, which has the largest market and population in South-East Asia, the drive to enable cashless payment is coming from startups such as Pundi Pundi, which offers a micro-credit system allowing customers to make payment at convenience stores, noodle sellers and hawker centres, as well as Go-Jek, Indonesia’s largest ride-hailing company.

While steps have obviously been taken to transform ASEAN countries into cashless societies, the adoption rate is still far lower than that of China. Indeed, as ASEAN nations continue to chart their own paths, the lessons learnt from China and Japan experience with QR code payments will no doubt be valuable.

About FOMO Pay

FOMO Pay provides one-stop QRCode Payment Solution which enables merchants to accept a full suite of new payment methods including WeChat Pay, NETSPay, mVISA, Grab Pay, Baidu Wallet, Best Pay, etc. Launched in 2016 with more than 1000 merchants acquired within a year, FOMO Pay is trusted by major companies including SPH, Marina Bay Sands, StarHub, JUMBO, Club 21, CHANEL, etc. With FOMO Pay, merchants can unlock true business potential by giving customers the payment options they prefer and adopt cashless payment easily. FOMO Pay is also sitting in MAS SGQR Taskforce to promote QR code payment and make Singapore a cashless society.