// . //  INFocus //  Two Asian Retail And Wholesale Payments Trends To Know

Highlights on how multilateral agreements, the central bank digital currency network, and programmable money are revolutionizing the future of payments in Asia.


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INFocus provides exclusive insights and trends from experts and leaders across the Asia Pacific region, exploring the forces, opportunities, and challenges shaping its future.

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Cross border payments today are slow, expensive, and not transparent.

This has resulted in disadvantaging smaller merchants and businesses,

and the underserved consumers, as lower value payments pay disproportionately high fees. 

Domestic retail payments, on the other hand, have made significant progress from the introduction of FAST payments and QR payments in many parts of Asia.

These were accelerated by the fast-growing e-commerce market, as well as digitization of businesses brought on by the pandemic.

Now looking ahead, we see two very exciting developments

First, the extension of domestic FAST/QR capabilities into cross-border payments,

either through bilateral arrangements like Singapore’s PayNow with Thailand’s PromptPay,

or through a potential multilateral platform such as Project Nexus, which is being proposed by the Bank of International Settlements’ Innovation Hub in Singapore. 

The second is the experimentation with Central Bank Digital Currencies for wholesale cross border payments and settlement, which if successful will result in faster, cheaper, and more transparent payments. 

In addition, central banks are also exploring the use of programmable money which deploys blockchain’s smart contract capabilities into digital money. 

We are excited by these changes and are working with players in the payments ecosystem to respond quickly and decisively to take advantage of the opportunities that these changes present to them. 

My name is Juin Keek, and I am a Partner at Oliver Wyman. 

Together, let’s accelerate breakthroughs.