A look forward: Digital payments in Southeast Asia

Digital transactions are rapidly reshaping consumer behaviour, especially in Southeast Asia. The catalyst? The industry is steadily moving towards a cashless model, emphasising its role in fostering financial inclusion. This global shift towards digital payments, particularly in Asia-Pacific, further underscores how the area can contribute the highest value to the international cashless transactions market by 2026. 

With the adoption of QR code technology in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Philippines, the move towards cashless is remarkably rapid.  According to a recent study, the volume of QR code payments in Southeast Asia is expected to skyrocket by 590% by 2028, reaching 90 billion transactions, up from 13 billion in 2023. This substantial increase is mainly due to the inclusive nature of QR payments, which allow unbanked users to partake in digital transactions. This growth is particularly noticeable in the Philippines, where restaurants increasingly integrate QR code-based POS systems. These POS systems not only streamline transactions but also enhance customer experience.

Factors driving Southeast Asia’s QR code ecosystem

It’s helpful to get an overview of the QR code ecosystem in Southeast Asia to understand what is driving POS system usage, especially in the Philippines. The Boston Group reports that crucial factors contributing to the rise of QR code payments include the widespread adoption of QR code technology, bolstered by the region’s soaring smartphone penetration and the dynamic expansion of its digital economy. Statistics show that smartphone penetration in the Philippines continues to rise steadily, and it is predicted that at least half the country will own a smartphone in 2028. For businesses, the cost-effective nature of QR code systems also plays a crucial role, eliminating the need for more expensive POS setups.

Governments across Southeast Asia are actively encouraging this shift. Their efforts to foster a competitive digital payments market, including establishing Real-Time Payment Systems and national QR standards, are crucial in shaping this landscape. Moreover, the emergence of cross-border QR code payment linkages will enhance economic integration within the ASEAN region, offering more efficient transaction solutions. The practical implementation of QR code payments in Southeast Asia also offers valuable lessons. The SGQR Code initiative has unified various payment methods in Singapore, simplifying business and consumer transactions. This model inspires the Philippines, demonstrating the potential of QR code systems in enhancing customer engagement and operational efficiency in restaurants.

Furthermore, reports from Juniper Research highlight the substantial growth in Southeast Asia’s QR code payments, primarily due to the financial inclusivity these systems offer. This growth trend in Southeast Asia starkly contrasts with the slower adoption rates of QR payments in Western economies, presenting unique opportunities for industries like the Philippine restaurant sector.  This disparity opens a significant opportunity for businesses investing in the Philippine restaurant industry to adopt these technologies for better efficiency and profitability. 

Additionally, PwC’s “Payments 2025 and Beyond” report indicates that the financial services industry is embracing a transformative phase, with a notable shift towards cashless transactions and a focus on financial inclusion.

In this context, innovative POS solutions such as the QashierPay Soundbox are vital. By incorporating QR code payment technologies, these systems enhance operational efficiency and position Philippine restaurants at the forefront of a digital revolution in the market. With the ongoing advancements in technology, the future of QR code payments in Southeast Asia holds promise for greater convenience and security, highlighting the importance for the region’s restaurant industry to stay ahead of the curve.

The need for innovative POS systems to keep up with payment trends

Innovative POS systems like Qashier Soundbox are essential in a rapidly digitising market to keep pace with evolving payment trends. Soundbox accepts QR code payment from popular e-wallets. Its cutting-edge technology, sleek design and innovative features make it an attractive POS system choice. For instance, its ability to issue audio verifications upon payment can streamline operations for any business in all industries. 

The outlook for QR code payments in Southeast Asia is optimistic. Countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand have already unified their payment standards, allowing businesses to accept payments from international visitors using their domestic digital wallets. Singapore and the Philippines will follow suit by the end of 2023, further unifying regional payments. Introducing a regional QR payment code will mean consumers in these ASEAN countries can scan a QR code and pay with their e-wallets quickly without the fuss of converting to the local exchange rate. 

This move towards a more interconnected and embedded payment ecosystem presents a promising model for all markets – specifically the Philippines’ restaurant industry, where adapting to these changes is critical for future success and maintaining a competitive edge. As these systems become more sophisticated through ongoing technological advancements, they promise enhanced convenience and security. 


The surge in QR code payments is reshaping the financial landscape of Southeast Asia. As businesses continue to embrace these technologies, POS systems like Soundbox will play a critical role in navigating this digital transformation. The cashless future is here, and it’s now time to embrace it.

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More about Qashier
Qashier offers multiple digital solutions, including QR code table ordering, table management (F&B), employee management, customer relationship management (loyalty programs), inventory management, data analytics, and cashless payments, in an all-in-one device.

Qashier promises a seamless setup within 10 minutes, without the need for technical expertise. It boasts a user-friendly interface that is simple for anyone to learn and use. If you require assistance, you’ll find 7 days-a-week responsive technical support from your local team.

Try the Qashier app for free on your own Android device! Alternatively, you can speak to us to see how Qashier can meet your business needs. Schedule a meeting with us here, call us at (+65) 3165 0155WhatsApp (+65) 8887 7687, or email [email protected]



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