Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Mobile Payments in Asia

Author(s): Samia Y. Husain

November 2013

Asia Focus

As a new retail payment technology, mobile payments (m-payments) have the potential to facilitate global commerce by reducing transaction costs. As market leaders in testing new technologies, consumers in Asia have begun to utilize m-payments in a variety of everyday retail transactions far ahead of their North American and European counterparts. However, even the technologically savvy consumers in Asia currently use m-payments on a limited basis, which raises questions as to whether this technology can be more widely adopted in Asia and eventually, globally.

This Asia Focus report explores the use of m-payments in Asia and evaluates the challenges it faces regarding wider adoption. Specifically, this report clarifies what an m-payment is, identifies which factors are facilitating and hindering the use of m-payments by consumers in certain economies of Asia, and summarizes key issues this new payment technology presents to government regulators.

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