Digital Commerce Asia Pacific was organised by APSCA and held in Kuala Lumpur last week. A high proportion of conference participants came from organisations regulating and providing payments services; delegates from regulators, banks, non-banks, payments schemes and payments service providers made up 75% of the participants.
What people said about the event:

"Good discussions on the overall payment landscape observed in ASIA. Great to know what payment service providers (fintechs) are doing and trend for future payments."
Michelle Phang, Product Management - Malaysia, JPMorgan Chase Bank

"Well organized conference with well diversified and multi-aspects which stimulates each participant to re-consider what the digital payments mean and what needs to be done."
Tac Watanabe, Executive Vice President, Brand Infrastructure & Technologies Department, JCB

"It was an informative workshop with great sharing from experienced and knowledgeable speakers and facilitators."
Keo Kannitha, Payment System Management Division, National Bank of Cambodia

"It was very well participated with speakers from across the payments ecosystem including regulators, payment system operators, banks and non-banks. "
Yeow Honn Chin, AVP, Transaction Services, Citibank
Click to view more photos from the event.

Another set of payments rails
With the objectives to improve economic efficiency by displacing cash, Asian regulators are laying the groundwork for a new era in payments innovation. Across the region, governments are implementing new e-payments frameworks to enable retail real-time payments using smartphones and QR code payments, at both online and physical merchants.
Real-time payments and card-based payments
Regulators are also driving their national payments networks to expand the adoption and usage of domestic debit cards. This includes a variety of policy measures and initiatives to drive and incent issuers and acquirers to expand the acceptance and usage of domestic debit cards into new segments currently dominated by cash.
Regulators are the innovators
Government objectives for accelerating the adoption, acceptance and usage of e-payments are designed to enable new opportunities which existing e-payments ecosystem have not been able to achieve so far, such as onboarding micro merchants that are usually unable to afford EDCs, enabling P2P and push payments, and targeting segments dominated by cash.
Platforms for banks and non-banks
National payments networks are launching real-time payments rails alongside their domestic debit card payments rails. Markets where this is taking place so far include India, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Most of these new payment networks are open to banks and non-banks to collaborate and compete.
QR code payments outside of China
Mobile QR code payments are unlikely to develop in Asia-Pacific markets the same way that they developed in China. There are far more than two non-bank players in each market, the strongest players may not be Alipay or Wechat, and new e-payments frameworks and real-time payment networks (in theory) offer banks and nonbanks equal opportunities.
Reaching more consumers and more merchants
In Asia Pacific markets today, banks still have the same opportunities as non-banks to build mobile payments businesses using QR codes and expand e-payments into new segments. But they will need to move quickly as the non-banks are actively targeting the consumers and merchants that have so far been more or less ignored by banks.
Displacing cash with contactless payments
Innovative card payment acceptance solutions are creating new opportunities to drive contactless card-based payments into new segments still dominated by cash. Micro merchants that cannot afford EDCs can be onboarded for e-payments by using mobile NFC phones to accept contactless payment cards through PIN-on-mobile.
Payment cards are back
Latest developments in card technologies are driving a new generation of payment card products and solutions that offer stronger security, enhanced convenience and a new cool factor that enables differentiation. Despite predictions that they will be replaced by mobile payments, the future of payment cards looks better than ever.
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