How do online shoppers prefer to pay in the Philippines?
If you’re entering the Philippines’ e-commerce market, it’s essential that you’ve done your research and found a product to run with. However, how are your customers going to pay? Success depends on understanding and catering to your customer’s preferred payment methods.
The best way to approach a market is to look at statistics. Research helps understand the financial aspects of the business, consumer buying trends, and in-demand products. This information will help you find your niche, provide a valuable product or service, and gain a competitive edge.
Regarding the move to online checkout, on August 24, 2022, Statista Research Department found that the Covid-19 pandemic triggered a clear shift in the Philippines to digital payments. As in-store shopping plummeted, Filipino consumers turned to QR code payments and mobile wallets to complete their online purchasing transactions. In fact, besides Thailand and Indonesia, PH made amongst the most digital payment transactions in SEA in 2022. The researchers expect continued growth.
Leading digital payment services
Which digital payment platforms do Asian countries prefer for making cross-border e-commerce transactions? A Statista survey found that in 2021 among cross-border e-commerce firms, 74 percent of Filipino businesses used PayPal. Alipay App had 10 percent of the market share, followed by Payoneer (5%) and others (11%). Of note, PayPal also led in Indonesia (69%), Malaysia (62%), Thailand (58%), Vietnam (56%), and Singapore (55%). On the other hand, a shift in preference for WorldFirst was observed in South Korea (56%), China (43%), and Japan (41%).
Why digital payments?
The next issue is what’s driving the shift to online payments. Also referencing Statista, the Philippines ranks low regarding the share of a banked population in APAC. As such, digital payment methods are a worthwhile alternative for a potential customer with no bank or access to financial infrastructure. Therefore, the most popular payment methods have been digital or mobile wallets available in the PH since early 2001, when signing up only required a valid ID and a phone number. By 2020, 25 million Filipinos used mobile wallets to accept or make online payments. Local players Manilla-based Maya, a mobile banking app, led the mobile wallet sector, and GCash, an e-wallet for PH users only.
QR-based payments are another vital alternative to mobile wallets. In November 2019, the Philippine’s central bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, introduced QR PH – the country’s QR code standard based on the Europay-Mastercard-VISA (EMV) standard, a worldwide benchmark for safe payments. The bank launched the QR PH system in 2021 for peer-to-peer (P2P) payments and in 2022 for person-to-merchant (P2M) payments made to establishments like department stores and drug stores. Since April 2022, merchants participating in the P2M payment system jumped 70% from May 2022. Now the bank intends to roll out QR PH P2M for paying bills to boost the overall e-commerce sector. Another option under consideration is a cryptocurrency, a payment method perfectly aligned with the central bank’s goal of making PH a cash-lite society.
Filipinos have widespread mobile literacy, with around 74% of people owning a smartphone. Therefore along with other Asian countries, e-commerce is flourishing. However, some of the population may still face challenges regarding making cash-free payments online. Still, the government is going all-out to change that. Along with the rise in e-commerce and safe and accessible payment options, Filipinos are fast joining global consumer expectations for single-click payment methods. Such methods enable smooth and quick checkouts and provide a great customer experience. Providing customers with various payment options is a competitive advantage for any brand entering or already working in the Philippines’ e-commerce sector.