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Payment systems: cards are only part of the story, you need whole picture locally

Two recent publications from Retail Bank Research and adyen showed that although payment card usage is growing dramatically, it is vital to understand each local market’s payment habits and infrastructure to be able to take advantage of business opportunities.

Payment card usage

The latest Global Payment Cards and Forecasts study from Retail Bank Research showed that micro-merchants adopting EFTPOS terminals for the first time and government initiatives to reduce cash usage were two key growth drivers in the massive increase in payment card usage predicted over the next five years.

Global card acceptance to increase by 60+% by 2025

At the end of 2019, UnionPay cards could be used at 59.3 million merchant outlets which is 80% of the global total see figure below:

Discover was the most commonly accepted scheme in previous years benefiting from reciprocal network-to-network agreements with UnionPay, JCB & BC Card which resulted in universal acceptance in China Japan and South Korea respectively. 

Other findings:

  • Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted schemes outside China 
  • At a regional level, in both Europe and the Americas, Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted schemes and as are their sub-brands such as Visa Electron and Maestro 
  • The number of payment card accepting merchant outlets will increase dramatically to 95.9 million outlets by 2025 
  • Contactless payments driven by COVID-19 pandemic is increasing rapidly and now is 19% of all card payments (up from 15% in 2018).

Understanding each local market

adyen’s Knowledge Hub contains a vital resource for corporate treasury departments: The Global Payment Methods Guide with a series of Regional Guides. A good example is the Asia Pacific Guide – Local payment methods in Asia, see. It contains reports on Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and The Philippines.

For example The Philippines header page:

And each of the payment methods link to more detail, e.g. GrabPay provides this information:

And then most usefully adyen also provide a tip on how to make and collect payment locally. On The Philippenes they write:

“A local entity is not required and cards can be processed cross-border without international fees. We recommend that international merchants keep cards cross-border and enable local payment methods as well. Authorization rates tend to be lower in the Philippines than other markets, mainly due to the young generation being less willing to pay for digital content. We see lower conversion rates especially for content like games and music downloads.”

Local Market strategy driven globally

adyen’s driving believe is that although businesses of all sizes are expanding across borders to reach shoppers around the world. That, before they rush to launch localized websites and set up entities in new markets, it’s important to consider how these international shoppers want to pay.”

And that companies need to “Get ready to go global with local payment methods” by considering each market separately.


CTMfile take: adyen’s regional guides will help corporate treasury departments save a huge amount of time and resources in understanding what is available and what will be most effective in each country and region. Recommended.

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