Harnessing Payments Innovation in APAC
The pace of payments technology development across APAC is breathtaking. Treasury must understand the scale and significance of these changes to fully harness their benefits. In the company of Bank of America’s Venkat ES, Head of Treasury Products, Asia Pacific, Global Transaction Services, and Serina Hourican, Head of Commercial Sales, Asia Pacific, Global Transaction Services, TMI maps out this rapidly evolving landscape.
APAC is a complex region in that it is home to a wide range of distinct regulatory frameworks that shape the evolution of its payments and settlements mechanisms. Despite the complexity, it is also perhaps the fastest-evolving market when it comes to payments innovation. For treasurers who understand the balance between both, exciting opportunities for progress await.
Payments landscape diversity within APAC is hardly surprising given that it is a vast territory encompassing the sub-continent, north Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australasia. Delivery ranges from purely functional structures and processes where cash, cheque and paper-based clearing and settlement prevail, to the most advanced electronic landscapes in the world. However, Venkat notes that where adoption of the new is yet to take hold, there is increasing evidence that digitalisation is gaining ground rapidly.
By presenting every digital option, from consumer payments via QR codes on mobile devices, to real-time corporate treasury and wholesale settlements, to central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and crypto, APAC is heralding new opportunities for all stakeholders to finally abandon hard cash. As innovative options such as buy-now-pay-later come into play, so adoption rates are accelerating. Quoting Accenture payments trends research indicating that almost 50% of regional B2C merchants want electronic payments, Venkat describes the uptick in demand as a “regional revolution of payments”.