Asia continues to lead payment innovation worldwide

Adrian M. Reodique

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Asia remains as the top payment innovation leader globally for nine consecutive years, according to ACI's Global Payments Innovation Jury 2017 report.

The report surveyed 70 senior industry executives from 37 countries to gain insights about the trends and developments that are shaping the payments landscape globally. It was sponsored by payments company, ACI Worldwide, and organised by payments and fintech adviser, John Chaplin.

More than half of the jurors (64 percent) believed that Asia is leading payments innovation globally, which is driven by countries' payment infrastructure modernisation efforts.

While China leads the adoption of fintech, jurors believed India has also become a regional powerhouse in the field with its aggressive payments modernisation and innovation agenda driven by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

Other countries such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore were also seen as significant players in fintech, with the rapid modernisation of their payments infrastructures.

"The opportunities in the region are widespread due to the rapid population growth, high willingness to accept new technology and the sheer size of the market opportunity to convert from cash to digital payments in economies where the reach of traditional banks is limited," according to the Global Payments Innovation Jury 2017 report.

In line, majority of the jurors (47 percent) also chose Asia as the best region to start a payments business followed by Africa (17 percent), America (14 percent), Europe (13 percent), and Latin America (nine percent).

 

Towards greater payments innovation

Meanwhile, 73 percent of the jurors noted the significant role of open application programme interfaces (APIs) in payments development, especially with trend towards in-app payments and the growing number of transactions from internet of things (IoT)-enabled devices.

According to online tech dictionary, Webopedia, API is a set of routines, protocols, and tools to build software applications and specify how software components interact with each other.

"Trends in payments and fintech, such as open APIs, are converging to create space for new market entrants as well as for incumbents to retain or grow their market share," said Paul Thomalla, senior vice president of ACI Worldwide.

Furthermore, jurors underscored the importance of collaboration with startups as an optimal innovation model for established payment firms (44 percent) or acquisition of startups (19 percent) towards greater innovation.

"Established payments players, especially financial institutions, see an imperative to innovate as the size of the global payments market increases across multiple geographies - it's clear that payments companies should not see nimble start-ups as a threat, but rather as a partnership opportunity," explained Thomalla.  

 

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