Following up on our previous editorial piece on ePayments, we believe that it is about time for us to go into more depth, considering that payments is the largest sector in the fintech space currently.
Generally the broad fintech-related category of payments is ePayments, which stands for electronic payments. Electronic payments refer to an array of electronic tools that we can use to facilitate monetary transactions. As long as the transfer is handled electronically or digitally, it is regarded as ePayments.
We can broadly categorise ePayments into three categories; card payments, digital payments and mobile payments.
There are a large number of different types of payments within the ecosystem, from contactless cards to wearables, mobile wallets, tablet POS, mobile money, digital currency, remittance and more.
Traditionally, payments were mainly dealt by banks and financial institutions, especially when the notion of using cards (credit, debit, prepaid) were just rolled out.
Nowadays, payments has expanded to a new category of non-bank players. Some of which include telecommunication companies, technology giants, startups and more. Non banking players come into the picture with a different perspective and are able to offer solutions that may be more acceptable to the customer’s palate.
Some big payments players in Asia include:
Ant Financial Services Group
Ant Financial is a spin-off from Alibaba prior to their IPO in 2014, and is formerly known as Alipay. They currently operate an online payments platform and has ventured into other fintech sectors such as mobile payments, micro-loans, insurance and more.
Ayannah is a remittance service based in the Philippines that offers digital commerce and payment services to the unbanked population in emerging markets.
Fastacash is a Singapore-based social payments platform. They allow for transactions or payments transfers to be conducted through all social and messaging portals globally.
Thailand-based Omise is a payment gateway with a Southeast Asian presence. They allow merchants to process payments on their platform through a simple and integrated gateway.
ePayments is a vital segment in fintech, especially in Asia, for a number of reasons:
With ePayments, consumers and merchants can easily access financial resources anytime, anywhere. There is no longer a need to wait until working hours for transactions to be done. Even when you are away from home, you can easily perform payment related transactions as long as you have access to Internet.
Before ePayments, confidential information was handled physically, which poses a lot of security risks. With digital technology, systems offer encryption that protects private information.
With cash, retailers used to underreport transactions to reduce their the taxes they have to pay. ePayments have helped enhance transparency in the economy and reduce the grey economy of under-reported cash transactions.
While we observe mobile and digital payment services surfacing every other day, it is important to understand that it does play a vital role in supporting the financial landscape of today. Underneath all the glamour of technology, ePayments plays a big part in revolutionising the economy and in pushing our society forwards.