Top Payment Channels in South East Asia

Top Payment Channels in South East Asia

July 31, 2023
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It is no doubt that the mobile market becomes a blue ocean market. Many entrepreneurs and indie developers are eager to have a piece even though it’s already a red ocean market.

Applications are like an entrance ticket. Regardless of how amazing the features embedded in the app, there is no future for 0 in-app purchase. We have to admit that each country has its payment pattern. Official Google & Apple payment in app stores (Google wallet or Apple wallet) are simply not enough in the current dynamic living style. Local payment channels have their promotion strategy, culture intervention, market share and the most important - rates. Every app developer or publisher should learn more about local payment channels and integrate to their apps to attract more IAP (In-App Purchase). After all, even Google and Apple are integrating the same third-party payments, and they charge 30% for each transaction.

This article mainly focuses on payment channels in SEA with rate & transaction fee details. It should be helpful for every application company who is looking for expanding in-app purchase and has a global publishing profile. First and foremost, there are several questions we need to address every time we want to integrate a new payment channel:

  1. What kind of payment it is (Point card, e-banking?) - payment type.
  2. What are the steps to fulfil a completed purchase? - user experience
  3. Is it necessary to register (or have an account ) before a purchase? - user experience
  4. Fees(Set-up fee, transaction fee, VAT&WHT, service fee, refund fee, chargeback fee, deposit)? - potential marginal cost
  5. Any other taxes? - extra cost 
  6. What is the proportion of monthly chargeback (refund)? - Risk management
  7. API or SDK integration? - user experience
  8. Billing circle and withdraw method? - financial turnaround
  9. Market share and competitors? - popularity
  10. Any other successful cases (famous partners?)
  11. Any free(or pay) promotion resources?
  12. Company info?
  13. Contract

You will have a clear picture of how this payment channel can contribute to your profit after addressing these 13 screening questions. After all, an optimal user experience applies to both sides, and it costs money to the company.

Each south-east Asia country has its typical and unique patterns. The rates listed below are just for reference only. Price and quotation vary from different application type and revenue.


As a developed country, Singapore has at least 1.27 million game users, and they are willing to pay for their games. In 2016, more than US $350 million was recorded as gaming revenue.

Payment Pattarn in SG
Payment Pattarn in SG

As we can see in the diagram, payments in Singapore is categorised into four major categories.

Carrier billing, as we can see,  only takes 15% of the market. However, it is a required payment method due to its mobile billing feature. Unfortunately, transaction fee in carrier billing is quite high (more than 30%), and that is the reason that many companies cooperate with payment solution agency (intermediate like Ayden) to look for some discounts instead of contracting with carriers themselves. Singtel, M1, and Starhub are the three major carriers in SG. If you are looking for the great carrier payment solution provider, I recommend Codapay | Alternative Payments in Southeast Asia

Attached below are the other payment channels that recommended to integrate:

Payment Channels Details in Singapore
Payment Channels Details in Singapore

Here are some examples for free post blasting provided by MyCard Marketing team:

free post blasting provided by MyCard Marketing team
free post blasting provided by MyCard Marketing team
free post blasting provided by MyCard Marketing team
free post blasting provided by MyCard Marketing team - 2

Here is an example for free magazine promotion:

Magazine promotion from MyCard
Magazine promotion from MyCard


As a developing country, the amount of average in-game top-up from Malaysia is considered as excellent. The 3G network is well-developed in this country, and WIFI is provided everywhere. According to SKMM research, more than 50% of mobile users in MY surfing Internet through WIFI and most of the mobile users download their apps and games through Google & Apple app store instead of third party stores. With that in mind, it is no doubt that mobile devices are widespread and easily accessible.
Below are the payment channels that recommended to integrate:

Recommended Malaysia billing channels
Recommended Malaysia billing channels


Thailand is a promising market! Mobile gaming revenue has reached more than 100 million in 2015, and it was even much higher than in Singapore. At the current stage, the market grows more than 36% every year. And it’s highly notable that foreign publishers operate almost 98% of mobile games published in Thailand.

Line and Facebook are the major social media, and more than 67% of mobile users will check their social account every day, among which more than 50% are willing to pay for their mobile apps.

In Thailand, carrier billing and prepaid card are the dominant payment channels. People are rarely using online banking or even transfer money through social media like Wechat & Alipay in China.

Here below are the other payment channels that recommended to integrate (Due to the NDA, there are parts of rates I cannot reveal):

I highly recommend Blue Pay. When I was doing business with Bluemobile I found their services were quite thorough and the rates can be negotiated if you have high revenue. And they always keen to provide tons of free promotion resources like SkyTrain advertising, online station magazine promotion and SMS blasting. As a previous client, I am satisfied with their service.

Pictures attached below are some examples of free promotion Bluemobile provided:


Withholding tax in Vietnam is only 10% compared to 5%-25% from other countries in SEA. And you can even get some discount if your company locates and registers in Hong Kong. But on the other hand, strict rules are heavily applied for publishing game in Vietnam. 6-8 months are required for vetting the permission of publishing (which is not a cost-saving option), and there are only a few top massive firms have the qualification to issue the requirement.
So to cope with this awkward situation, publishers in China are most likely establish a partnership with local companies like VTC or Appota, which means these local companies also handle payment channels.
Local publishers in Vietnam :

Payment Pattern in Vietnam
Payment Pattern in Vietnam

When it comes to payment, I should bring to your attention that mobile internet in Vietnam is quite advanced (around 3.5USD per month for the 600MB traffic package, 8Mbps) and free WIF are almost everywhere. Unfortunately, the credit card is not widely used because of the low public income. As such, if you issue your game or other product in the app stores, and the credit card is the only way to receive payment - you better watch out -- integrating local payment would be a smart move.
Here below are the other payment channels that recommended to integrate:

Vietnam payment channel


There are 250 million people in Indonesia, and more than half of the population are mobile users. However, the internet and mobile network is pretty awful in Indonesia, and most of the mobile phone is not a smartphone.

There are a few points that need to address for Indonesia market:

  • Only around 10% of people have a credit card. However, people who like gaming are citizens with low-income.
  • The best way to hold an event or get sponsored is to contact an operator or carrier.

Let me tell you why:

  • Telecom provider always has a booth in the mall
  • they can bundle the quota package to game product and increase their selling
  • Alfamart, Indomaret,7-11 are for low-income citizen. Minimarts are everywhere.
  • With the few Credit cardholder, not many people are willing to spend lots of USD for a game in Indonesia, primarily via Google play official payment.
  • Imagine there is a $1 package for IAP and massive people let say 100.000 people download the game and make the purchase it will be $100.000 from 250 million. It's still possible -- Don't expect too much on a transaction.
  • The best way of pricing is to set up localise package for Indonesia and quote it in local currency -- IDR. And prices like IDR 10,000, IDR 50,000 are more welcomed than $1 or $0.99.

Here below are the payment channels that recommended to integrate (Due to the NDA, there are parts of rates I cannot reveal):

Recommended Indonesia Payment Channels
Recommended Indonesia Payment Channels


Carrier billing(Smart, Globe, Sun) and online banking payment in Philippines are highly recommended than Google Play & Apple store .

The rates listed above are for reference only. Rate and transaction fee vary from different app and revenue.

Thank you for reading!

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Dean Long | Expert in Growth MarketingHongxin(Dean) Long

Dean Long is a Sydney-based performance marketing and communication professional with expertise in paid search, paid social, affiliate, and digital advertising. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Information Systems and Management and is also a distinguished MBA graduate from Western Sydney University.

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