Euromonitor: Asia Pacific Digital Payments to Overtake Cash by 2028


Digital payments are poised to surpass cash transactions in the Asia Pacific region by 2028, according to a report by Euromonitor International.

In 2023, Asia Pacific led global digital payment transactions with a value of US$ 29,063 billion, constituting 52% of the worldwide total.

Credit and debit cards are expected to drive most new sales in the region between 2023 and 2028, with credit cards forecasted to have a slightly stronger compound annual growth rate (CAGR) than electronic direct transactions.

By 2028, personal electronic direct payments are projected to outstrip personal cash transactions.

Card Payments Surge Across APAC

Debit cards remain the dominant payment method in China, supported by a government initiative to promote bank account access in rural areas.

In India, credit card transactions saw the highest growth in the region, attributed to the adoption of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which offers faster, more convenient, and secure transactions compared to wallets.

Cash transactions are expected to continue declining, with credit cards likely to surpass debit cards in transaction value by 2028, despite debit cards being more widely circulated.

In East Asia, Japan experienced significant growth in personal card payment transactions, driven by the ‘Cashless Vision’ initiative. Debit card payments saw a CAGR increase of 19% from 2018 to 2023.

Paper transactions have declined rapidly in Japan and South Korea due to the digital shift to electronic and card payments. South Korea saw the highest percentage decline in paper transactions at -39% from 2018 to 2023, while mobile proximity payments grew by 29%.

Digital Wallets Gain Popularity

Digital wallets continue to gain traction in the region, particularly in emerging markets like Thailand, Indonesia, China, and India.

In China, nearly 70% of consumers use WeChat Pay daily, while over half of Indian consumers use PhonePe daily.

Fastest-Growing Markets

Indonesia emerges as the fastest-growing market for personal payment transactions, driven by smartphone adoption, increased usage of digital wallets, mobile banking, and the Quick Response Code Indonesia Standard (QRIS) for cashless payments.

In developed markets like Singapore and Hong Kong, there is still potential for growth, with mobile proximity payments exhibiting robust CAGR figures during the 2018-2023 period.

David Zhang, Insights Manager for Payments and Lending at Euromonitor International, highlighted the role of embedded finance partnerships between incumbent financial organizations and fintechs in driving digital transformation. Additionally, government initiatives such as payment standardizations and subsidies have contributed to greater financial inclusion, payment diversification, and the growth of cashless payments across the region.