The use of mobile wallets at point of sale (POS), as well as
online and mobile commerce interactions, has skyrocketed as consumer behavior
has evolved. The use of super-apps and QR-code-driven payments, especially
across Asia and South Asia, has added fuel to this fire in the shift toward
In 2021, mobile wallets’ share of global POS transactions
exceeded $13 trillion, or 28.6% of global POS transaction value. By 2025, this
is expected to rise to 38.6%. But this is just the beginning.
We have moved from disparate systems of fragmented consumer
and business relationships to ones that are interoperable, embedded, and
ubiquitous. These large, connected ecosystems can help cement the bond between
merchants and customers at the right place and at the right time, as in the
case of Alipay+, which combines multiple digital wallets in one solution across
While payments between consumers and merchants have always
been the glue that enabled commerce, the ability to harness and leverage the
data within these transactions will help small to medium-sized businesses
(SMBs) grow and connect to consumers in the rapidly transforming digital
What does this mean in terms of everyday life? More
importantly, how can we move beyond borders to enable local brands to more
easily connect with global customers? As global travel resumes, consumers will
demand the same seamless and secure digital experience they have come to enjoy
and rely upon, regardless of where they are. For merchants, it is now more
important than ever to cater to the wide variety of payment methods that
consumers use, regardless of where they are.
Imagine being in Singapore and paying for the local
Hainanese chicken rice dish with your own mobile wallet, while the local
merchant receives the payment in Singapore dollars in real time. Or imagine
having a meal sent to your hotel room via a local food delivery service,
regardless of where you are and what currency the merchant accepts. What if we
can pay for a taxi in a new city as seamlessly as we could in our home country,
because the connection between systems and merchants and consumers always just
works. It is not magic, but it feels pretty magical when payments are no longer
an obstacle in connecting what matters.
Facilitating interoperability of these transactions
efficiently, however, requires an intermediary solution that connects merchants
with all the different mobile payment providers. Without which, local merchants
will need to integrate with each digital wallet individually. For SMBs, this
could become rather time consuming and resource intensive.
Unsurprisingly, Southeast Asia has become yet again a
battleground for companies looking to roll out innovative solutions to meet
varying market needs. With 11 countries, each with their own languages and
cultures, more than 681 million in population combined and high smartphone
penetration, the region is far from being a monolith. For any payment solution
to be successful, localisation is key. And now any bank app, wallet, or
acquirer can become a partner in this digital payments ecosystem and benefit
from expanding their acceptance locally overseas, offering a much wider reach
and adding more value for merchant clients.
Beyond providing a frictionless experience for consumers,
having an interconnected ecosystem of local digital wallets can help merchants
reach a wider demographic of audience to drive adoption and customer loyalty,
while catering to the unique needs of each market.
The business opportunity of such an approach is massive,
beyond those who are already mobile-native and connected in various ecosystems.
New ways to effectively market these customers with analytical and messaging
tools can help to expand the physical and digital footprint for businesses
The recent Worldline initiative that seeks to extend a
full-scale multi-country integration with the Alipay+ solution signals where
the evolution of payments will go next: beyond borders and more inclusive to
both consumers and merchants.
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