Singapore is the most mobile payment-ready nation in the world, according to the Mobile Payments Readiness Index by MasterCard. Philippines came in second in Southeast Asia, followed by Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
The Index gauges the readiness of 34 countries across the globe in three different categories: Peer-to-peer, mobile commerce, and point-of-sale. An overall score was given for each country, with a score of 60 indicating an inflection point where a country is ready for the mass adoption of mobile payment.
To derive that score, six different factors were weighed on a 0-100 scale:
Consumer Readiness – MasterCard surveyed 1,000 consumers in each of the 34 countries to gauge their familiarity with mobile payment, willingness to use mobile payment and current usage of the three payment types.
Environment – Economic, technological and demographic elements, such as Internet access and per-capita income.
Financial Services – Depth of the financial services sector, including accessibility and affordability, and penetration of digital (plastic card-based) payments.
Infrastructure – Mobile phone penetration, network coverage and breadth of NFC terminals.
Mobile Commerce Clusters – Partnerships among financial services, telecommunications companies, governments and technology providers.
Regulation – Structure and efficiency of each market’s legal and governmental bodies.
The average score for all countries is 33.2, far from the inflection point. This indicates that it’s still early days yet for the mobile payment space.
Singapore has emerged on top primarily because of its infrastructure and regulatory environment. All of its population is covered by a mobile phone network, while its laws on information and communication technology are well-developed. Malaysia is within the top ten in both categories.
Generally, countries in the Asia-Pacific have done well in terms of consumer readiness. Filipinos, for instance, are third most open to mobile payments in the world.
Indonesians, on the other hand, are an exception. Their overall score flagged due to the lack of consumer readiness and mobile commerce clusters.
The country’s population are not familiar with mobile payments, and score low on willingness and frequency of use. The upside is that their willingness to use mobile payments score higher than familiarity, meaning with enough marketing and consumer education, Indonesians could be adopting the technology in large numbers.