Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - SE Asia a ‘fertile land’ for online payments, e-wallets

SE Asia a ‘fertile land’ for online payments, e-wallets

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A customer makes a payment using e-wallet at a supermarket in HCM City. Photo courtesy of nld.com.vn/VIET NAM NEWS

SE Asia a ‘fertile land’ for online payments, e-wallets

The obvious effects of the Covid-19 pandemic include the rapid increase in online payment services and digital banking across Southeast Asia (SEA).

Due to social distancing restrictions, people across the region now avoid brick-and-mortar bank branches and prefer the physically safer option of e-wallets and mobile payment applications, Moscow-based cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab general manager for Southeast Asia Yeo Siang Tiong said.

He said: “It is, however, far beyond surprising. As early as late 2019, before Covid-19’s massive effects across SEA, I read an article which said online financial transactions in the region will be worth $1 trillion by 2025 and the digital wallet segment will jump five-fold to $114 billion.

“I believe these two key sectors will go far beyond these predicted numbers as we try to minimise human contact for the sake of our physical health.”

Yeo said a recent study by New York, US-based multinational financial services corporation Mastercard Inc found that 40 per cent of consumers in the region saying they were using e-wallets more than ever, with Malaysia leading the way.

On the other hand, cash is slowly being dethroned as king as fewer people use banknotes to buy or trade goods and services, he said.

“What makes the region a fertile land for digital banking and online payment is the fact that it has countries with a young population – millennials and Gen Z’s who are not used to physically visiting financial buildings or queuing for a long time to fill up forms with pen and paper like the generations before them did.

“Another important factor is that there is still a significant per cent of individuals who are unbanked or underbanked. This is particularly true in still emerging countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam.”

At the centre of this digital revolution is trust. Customers are using e-wallets, mobile banking, and web applications driven by necessity, he said.

Now, more than ever, they need to trust financial institutions to secure their money, he said.

“Digital transformation, in any sector, always presents new challenges, but especially for banks and for financial services. To put it simply, revolutionising banks’ way of doing transactions means overhauling their legacy systems including people, process and technology,” Yeo said.

Humans remain the weakest link since, especially those who are not digitally native, lack proper awareness about the simplest risks like phishing and spam, while employees require new training and third-party services should be assessed comprehensively, he pointed out.

“When it comes to security, endpoint should be the foundation and banks should have known this by now. Financial services … should be looking at an adaptive approach in security which should be proactive rather than reactive – ready before an attack happens,” Yeo added.

The future may be foggy as different technologies continue to be developed, like AI, 5G, the Internet of Things, and cryptocurrency, but the past offers concrete lessons the financial sector could learn from, he said.

“Given the evolving nature of cyberthreats that are expected to become more sophisticated, it is also important that financial institutions have the necessary tools that help track threats that can evade regular endpoint solutions even before they hit you.

“We are in the middle of a digital revolution, and the use of online payment gateways and e-wallets are certainly here to stay and even increase.

“While it is a huge responsibility for banks and financial service providers to secure their virtual systems, I am certain they can pilot their way to the future as long as they build their cyber defences intelligently,” Yeo said.

VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Hungarian exposes 90 to Covid in Siem Reap

    The Ministry of Health has discovered 90 people who have been exposed directly or indirectly to a Hungarian man infected with Covid-19. They all are required to quarantine at home and the hospital. The ministry is searching for other affected people. Among the 90, one is the

  • PM warns of ‘new Cold War’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the possibility of a so-called new Cold War has become a significant concern and that all countries have to reject outright, any attempt to allow history to tragically repeat itself. He made the remarks in a speech during 75th Session

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped