Asia’s financial technology (fintech) numbers have been impressive, with experts forecasting that online payments would exceed $1 trillion USD by 2022 or 2023. Despite the fact that fintech trends in Southeast Asia show a rise in transaction values, digital payments, and the number of users, seniors are not ready to go cashless any time soon. They are cautious about new technologies and the possibility of losing money to cybercriminals.

According to a study by Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, nearly one in five Southeast Asian customers are still wary about making payments online. In July 2021, research firm YouGov conducted a study titled ”Mapping a Secure Path for the Future of Digital Payments in APAC (Asia Pacific)” in ten countries: Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. There were 1,618 respondents who were working professionals and digital payment users aged 18 to 65 who took part in the study. 

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The primary challenge for boomers and fintech in Southeast Asia is making online transactions more accessible to those who are less tech-savvy and convincing the older population that buying and selling online is safe. Unfortunately, many online threats make it difficult to transact safely. Many senior citizens do not have enough technical knowledge or training to be confident that they will not be taken advantage of when using the internet.

Emerging trends

According to the Kaspersky study, more than half of the respondents claimed they used a digital payment at least once a week in the previous 12 months. Mobile apps were the most preferred method of payment (58%), followed by online banking via mobile apps (53%). Debit cards (36%), credit cards(33%), and internet banking via browser (31%) were among the others.

Privacy, ease of access, and convenience were the top three reasons for choosing digital solutions. Nevertheless, 22% reported being anxious while making payments online, and 38% were concerned about both online and offline transactions. 

Some consumers (15%) began using online payment methods only after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Many people began using ePayments to comply with social distancing regulations, avoid contracting the virus, take advantage of incentives and rewards, and because it was the only way to make payments during lockdowns.

Attitudes and perceptions towards fintech

The two main issues affecting consumer behaviour were the availability of online payments and cybersecurity tools. According to the Kaspersky study, only 23% of respondents indicated they fully trust digital payments, while 17% said they prefer to pay using cash. 31% of the respondents were concerned about transacting via the internet, whereas 12% who had difficulty paying in person.

Some of the respondents (12%), found it difficult to understand how to use digital payment options, whereas 45% found it simple. Furthermore, 32% were pleased with the speed at which disputes were resolved when money was lost, while another 32% stated that online payments were more secure than they had realised.

Almost half of the respondents stated they would not purchase from an eCommerce platform with a history of cyberattacks. Respondents also believed that banks should incentivise their customers to implement better cyber security practices. While the cost-saving aspect of online payments pleased 29% of respondents, the possibility of financial loss remained to concern users.

Senior citizens and the cashless economy

Older people or Boomers (58-76 years old) are more worried about going cashless than Generation X (42-57 years), millennials (26-41 years old), and Generation Z (18-25 years old). They lack confidence in their ability to use technology, and many are afraid of making costly mistakes. Thus, while many are still learning, online transactions are uncommon.

Several governments and groups in Southeast Asia are driving initiatives and raising awareness programs to educate senior citizens on the technology. Young people are also encouraged to guide their parents and other senior citizens to help them become more comfortable with technology. They can also help with the installation of antivirus software to secure their various devices.

With cyber threats becoming more diversified, no one can be certain that they will be safe online. Fake websites, phishing schemes, data breaches, ransomware, bank fraud, and other risks pose a threat to the older generation’s willingness to transact online. Fintech trends show that younger, more tech-savvy consumers are spending their money online, and digital payment and transaction platforms are working hard to improve their security.

Boomers and fintech in Southeast Asia share a need for more robust online safety, but significant problems remain. More individuals will be interested in adopting digital solutions If the financial sector can improve its security features while also educating seniors on how to protect themselves online.. By resolving these difficulties, the fintech sector will gain more consumers and increase transaction volumes.