Why The Travel Industry Needs to Embrace ePayments
By Yon Heong Tung
Thursday, 7th November 2019

It may soon be possible to travel across the world without bringing out your physical wallet, thanks to the proliferation of mobile payment apps like e-wallets.

A recent Worldpay Global Report predicted that adoption of e-wallets will rise sharply within APAC, growing from 52% in 2018 to 66% in 2022.

The jump is hardly surprising, given that many consumers in emerging South-east Asian countries such as Indonesia are unbanked and would therefore leapfrog to mobile commerce solutions that are not only readily available on their smartphones but also easy to set up.

Indeed, a Hootsuite report last year estimated that at least 76 per cent of internet users in Indonesia made purchases via their mobile devices. Other APAC countries that fell into the high usage spectrum include Thailand (71%), South Korea (63%) and Malaysia (60%).

It is clear that businesses need to make building convenient and robust e-payment platforms a key pillar in their strategy to win customers in this region.

“The traditional view of a bank account is changing. There is less need to have physical cash on your body – there’s going to be a paradigm shift from physical money to virtual currency,” said Eric Liebman, global head of travel, Ingenico ePayments, at a panel about payments at WiT Singapore 2019 earlier this month.

Shirish Jain, PWC’s strategy and payments director, took that hypothesis a step further, postulating that the notion of having a bank account might even disappear. He cited the e-wallet in Indonesia’s ride-hailing super app, Gojek, as an example of how consumers have become increasingly reliant on that system of payment. Given that Gojek provides a suite of services in Indonesia beyond ride-hailing – from spa treatments to food delivery – it is easy to imagine entrusting large sums of money to a single app.

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