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COVID-19 drives up digital payments throughout APAC region

By Catherine Knowles, Thu 21 Oct 2021

Kaspersky, the global security and privacy company, has released new research about secure payments in the APAC region.

The report titled ‘Mapping a secure path for the future of digital payments in APAC’, highlights local user’s interactions with the available online payments in the region and their attitudes towards them.

According to the report, a great majority (90%) of respondents have used mobile payment apps at least once in the past 12 months, confirming the fintech boom in the region.

Nearly 2 in 10 (15%) of which only started using these platforms after the pandemic.

Kaspersky managing director for Asia Pacific, Chris Connell, commented on the findings, saying, “Data from our fresh research showed that cash is still king, at least for now, in APAC with 70% of the respondents still using physical notes for their day-to-day transactions.

"However, mobile payment and mobile banking applications are not far behind with 58% and 52% users utilising these platforms at least once a week up to more than once a day for their finance-related tasks.

"From these solid statistics, we can infer that the pandemic has triggered more people to dip their toes into the digital economy, which may fully dethrone cash use here in the next three to five years.”

Safety and convenience triggered more users in APAC to embrace financial technologies, the researchers state.

More than half of the respondents noted that they started using digital payment methods during the pandemic as it was a safer and more convenient method than making a face-to-face transaction.

Respondents also cited that these platforms allowed them to make payments while adhering to social distancing (45%) and that these are the only way they could do monetary transactions during lockdowns (36%).

For 29% of users, digital gateways are more secure now compared to pre-COVID-19 era and the same percentage also appreciate the incentives and rewards providers offer, the report finds.

While only a small fraction, friends and relatives (23%) still influenced new adopters as well as the local government (18%) promoting the use of digital payment methods.

When asked about their reservations prior to using mobile banking and payment apps, first-time users admitted their fears of losing money online (48%) and afraid of storing their financial data online (41%).

Almost 4 in 10 also revealed they do not trust the security of these platforms. More than a quarter also find this technology too troublesome and requires many passwords or questions (26%), while 25% confessed their personal devices are not secure enough.

Connell says, “To drive a secured digital economy forward, it is important for us to know the pain points of our users and identify the loopholes that we need to address urgently.

"It is a welcome finding that the public is aware of the risks that comes with online transactions and because of this, developers and providers of mobile payment applications should now look into the cybersecurity gaps in each stage of the payment process, and implement security features, or even a secure-by-design approach, to fully gain the trust of the future and existing digital payment adopters.”

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