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The Growth of Digital Payments after the COVID-19 Pandemic in Asia
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The Growth of Digital Payments after the COVID-19 Pandemic in Asia

December 20, 2022
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source: Lifestylememory

After many parts of the world underwent lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ways we have gone with their lives have changed quite considerably. We now are more to online spending, such as shopping more from e-commerce and executing financial transactions via online banking.

Growth of Digital payment after Covid 19 in Asia

According to the World Bank’s Global Findex 2021 database report, in 2021, 76% adults globally either own an account at a bank, other financial institutions and/or mobile money providers. These numbers shot up from 68% in 2017 and 51% in 2011, where the trend is evenly distributed across many countries across the world– especially in Asia. Although there are speculations that this will slow down post-COVID, it turns out that the growth trajectory is still going strong due to the continuous emergence of fintech and digital banks.

Hence, how does the post-COVID growth in digital payments look like in other countries across the region? How will the future growth look like? Let's take a look below.


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Up to 2019, cash still plays a key role in this Southeast Asian nation. However, since the beginning of the pandemic, Bank Indonesia (Indonesia's central bank) recorded that the number of new users of digital transactions skyrocketed to 21 million up until 2022.

One of the contributing factors that facilitated this rapid growth is the popularity of the Quick Response Code Indonesia Standard (QRIS) by Bank Indonesia. The QRIS is a standardized QR code system created by the government, aimed to facilitate cashless payments for the 64.19 million MSMEs throughout the region.

According to the Indonesian Payment Systems Association (ASPI), the number of domestic QRIS transactions grew from 5 million in January 2020 to a whopping 91.7 million in August 2022. The total transaction value also rose from IDR 365 billion to IDR 9.66 trillion respectively. 

But what’s in store for the future? Back in August 2022, The Bank Indonesia Governor, Perry Warijyo, said in a press release that back in May, central bank governors from Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines have gathered and committed to connecting the payment system. 

"In the near future, the five countries will be able to digitize QR cross-border payment systems, fast payments with local currency payments which simultaneously support tourism, support MSMEs, and also support the digital financial economy nationally," He said. 

You might also be interested in:
- A Brief History of Online Payments - Where Electronic Payments Began
- In celebration of SOE’s Startup Day, Bank Mandiri and ICON+ Collaborate with Ayoconnect to Support Growth in the Digital Payments Scope


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source: ASphotofamily 

According to the same 2021 World Bank report mentioned above, India was one of the countries experiencing the most significant growth with the usage of digital payments. More than 80 million adults made their first digital merchant payment after the outbreak started, while 34% of adults have used their account to make or receive their payment (this number was 28% in 2017).

In an article published in October 2022, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stated that their real-time payment system called the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has increased India's average payment volume of around 50% over the past five years– making it one of the world’s fastest growth rates. 

Transactions in the platform more than doubled in one year to 5.89 billion in June 2022, while the numbers of participating banks jumped 44% to 330 in the same period. In addition, the RBI also introduced a UPI for feature phones (older devices that do not utilize touch screens) earlier this year, opening up the possibility to give access to financial services for 400 million people in rural areas. 

The institution also houses a number of varied payment systems under their umbrella, including prominent debit and card issuers, mobile money service providers and more. The RBI is also foreseeing that individual and merchant digital payment users will continue to grow threefold in the next five years, which hopefully can translate to an increased digital adoption by more people in the nation.


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Although China has adopted digital payments relatively early in Asia with their giant online payment platforms like Alipay and WeChat Pay, the COVID-19 outbreak has accelerated its growth even further. They eventually also led the surge in online transactions worldwide, propelling overall financial inclusion across various countries.

In 2021, the World Bank’s Global Findex 2021 database recorded that at least 100 million Chinese adults started transacting digitally for the first time after the start of the pandemic.

In addition, the widespread usage of digital payments has reduced the unbanked population domestically by around 42% from 225 million in 2017 to 130 million in 2021. Although the survey stated that this only accounted for 11% of the country’s adult population, these numbers are still expected to grow as the country’s digital infrastructure continues to develop in the coming years. 


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source: Lifestylememory

Thailand’s central bank said that usage of digital payments had increased fourfold before the pandemic started. Mastercard’s second Annual New Payments Index 2022 report discovered that 94% Thai consumers have used digital payments (QR code codes, digital wallets, etc.), landing themselves the #1 spot out of the 40 countries surveyed.

PromptPay, a real-time payment system available via all Thai banks, stated that daily transactions on the platform averages at a whopping 28 million in 2021. This is quite a big jump from its pre-pandemic levels at just 7 million in 2019 and 14.5 million transactions in 2020. 

According to Aileen Chew, Mastercard’s country manager for Thailand and Myanmar, Thailand is currently at the forefront of digital payments in Asia Pacific– and is expected to continue to be the leading example of how the future of digital payments will be. 

Based on a Google-led study, Asia's expected to hit US$2 trillion of transaction value in 2030. As the development of digital financial services is still going strong, it’s a good time for you and your business to start providing ways for customers to transact online. Trusted by more than 200+ businesses around Southeast Asia, Ayoconnect has various Open Banking and payment service APIs ready to cater to your needs. From direct debit to recurring payment systems, we have it all for you.

Ready to #MoveForward with us? Contact us for a demo here