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Can banks in Asia replicate China’s success in QR code payments adoption?

29 January 2018 | 4:00 - 4:30pm SGT

Increasingly, QR code-based payments are considered to be the most cost-effective way of expanding the digital payments footprint in Asia where traditional card based instruments have failed. QR codes once regarded as a low-tech high-risk solution not worthy of emulation, have gained traction driven by regulators and financial institutions alike. Considering that QR code systems are asset-light, the merchant discount rate as well as interchange for QR code-based payments are supposed to be several basis points lower than transactions on traditional POS but in  markets such as Thailand, charges levied are not compatible for small sized payments, hence merchant resistance continues to hamper adoption. 

Regulators have also realised that if payment platforms are left to market forces, market participants will establish their own proprietary closed-loop systems, benefiting only the largest players. Regulatory efforts in India, Thailand and Singapore have aimed to improve interoperability, while financial players and telcos in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have launched their own initiatives.

While most countries outside China may opt for bank-led payment systems, WeChat and Alipay started offering proprietary versions by late 2011. Due to clever marketing, the lack of a national payments infrastructure, and a vast pre-existing base of messaging platform users, QR code adoption became more widespread and is expected to further accelerate if public transport systems start jumping into the game.

This RadioFinance session will focus on some of the implications of the rapid expansion of usage of QR codes for payments may have for banks in Asia and how banks need to rethink their payments strategies vis-à-vis other payments platforms such as near field communication (NFC). This online session will also touch on how to attract more merchants into the payments fold.


Sandeep Indurkar heads ICICI's mobile payments initiatives under its internet banking and mobile banking group. With over 14 years of industry experience, he is in-charge of identifying, developing and executing business strategies, as well as building relationship with various business stakeholder for launching payment services and fostering an interoperable payment ecosystem. He was the project lead in launching Vodafone M-pesa, Mobile Money with Aircel, and mRupee Money order Service with Tata Teleservices.

Janine Marie Crisanto  is research manager at The Asian Banker mainly covering key trends and developments in the retail banking industry. She manages The Asian Banker's Retail Finance Monthly Report and is part of the secretariat of the Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards Programme.


Richard Hartung, International Resource Director at The Asian Banker, has over 20 years of experience in the payments and consumer financial services industry. He has held senior roles for financial institutions including Citibank, Mastercard International, and OCBC Cards. Hartung serves as a consultant in retail banking, cards and payment products to financial institutions, service providers, and software companies throughout the Asia Pacific region.

2018-01-29 16:00:00 2018-01-29 16:30:00 Asia/Singapore Can banks in Asia replicate China’s success in QR code payments adoption? Singapore The Asain Banker