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Over half of SEA users say SMBs should use digital payments

According to a Kaspersky study, over one in two SEA users say SMBs should be using digital payments.

The study found that more than half of e-finance users (67%) in Southeast Asia (SEA) believe that small and medium businesses (SMBs) should begin using digital payments for financial transactions. Cybersecurity company Kaspersky surveyed 1,618 people to identify the attitude and challenges of digital payment users in the region.

Among the countries in SEA, consumers in Malaysia (72%) strongly favoured the SMB's adoption of digital payment systems, followed by Singapore (68%) and the Philippines (68%).

"The demand for contactless payment systems is unprecedented and reflects the projected trajectory of rising e-commerce spending by 162% or U$179.8 billion by 2025, with digital payments accounting for 91% of the transactions," says IDC.

Among the respondents, 64% believe that mobile wallets can positively boost businesses by increasing their earnings. Thailand is the most confident with this (71%), followed by Malaysia (68%) and Vietnam (64%).

According to the study, frequently used forms of digital payment among SEA consumers include:

  • Mobile payment apps (58%)
  • Internet banking via mobile app (53%) 
  • Debit card (36%) 
  • Credit card (33%) 
  • Internet banking via browser (31%) 

Nearly three in five (59%) of respondents say they would shop more at stores that accept digital payments. Malaysian consumers (70%) are the most inclined to do so, followed by Vietnam (63%) and the Philippines (59%).

The top three reasons for respondents across the region are being familiar and comfortable with these technologies are their convenience, ease of access and privacy.

Users are also aware of the issues that hamper SMBs in embracing this technology. More than a quarter (27%) of the total respondents say that local businesses are not ready to use digital payments because of internet issues and lack of devices.

This view is highest in the Philippines (31%), followed closely by Vietnam (30%), Indonesia (29%) and Thailand (28%). Malaysia (21%) and Singapore (20%), the more developed countries in the region, logged lower.

But Kaspersky says it's a different matter when an e-commerce provider or seller is subjected to a cyberattack. The survey found the confidence of consumers to shop at stores that suffered data breaches dropped by 42% in general.

"It's worthy to note that while consumers are embracing the digital lifestyle and trusting these tools that make their financial transactions smooth and fast, they are also starting to gain an awareness of the dangers and risks of cyber threats in their personal lives," says Kaspersky SEA general manager, Yeo Siang Tiong.

"To put things in perspective, the cost of data breaches in SMBs rises by 54%, but the average losses would go 17% lower with early breach detection. The SMBs are now in a position to speed up their digital transformation.

"The radical changes to the demands and expectations of consumers can no longer be ignored, or else, they might decide to bring their business elsewhere. I would venture to advise SMBs right now to act and ride the wave, so to speak."

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