Online retail
Global expansion
Global expansion
February 23, 2024

Can real-time payments play in Australia — or are payments already fast enough?

Exploring Real-Time Payments in Australia: A Necessary Leap?

Global expansion
Global expansion

As companies increasingly set their sights on international markets, the need for a comprehensive understanding of the principles guiding global expansion is becoming increasingly essential.

Juan Franco, senior vice president of eCommerce for the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region at Nuvei, highlighted some of these factors in an interview with PYMNTS, ranging from user behaviors and regulations to currencies and taxes.“For example, there are seven countries with seven different regulatory environments in Southeast Asia, so even if you want to use one strategy for this specific region, you need to understand every single country, its [market dynamics, and] how each of their payment landscapes has evolved,” Franco said.

This also includes an understanding of the diverse alternative payment methods (APMs) in use, Franco added. To illustrate this, he pointed out differences across APAC and Southeast Asia, from the dominance of digital wallet transactions in countries like China, the Philippines and Indonesia, and the widespread adoption of buy now, pay later (BNPL) in Australia, to markets such as Japan and Mexico where cash payments still hold sway.

Navigating this complex global commerce landscape is no doubt challenging, which is why using the expertise of an established global provider like Nuvei can be instrumental in easing the process for eCommerce merchants looking to expand globally, Franco explained.

The Canada-headquartered payments firm holds local licenses in most global markets and has integrations with over 680 APMs, enabling the firm to deliver comprehensive support, including payment solutions, regulatory compliance and know your customer (KYC) assistance to online retailers, among other services.

As Franco said, “our mission is one single integration, one single API that gives our merchants coverage in all or most countries worldwide. [Basically,] merchants can go to a new country and accept payments like a local company.”

Navigating Australia’s unique payments landscape

Australia, as Franco highlighted, has been at the forefront of payments innovation. The country’s eCommerce market stands out in the APAC region for its maturity, substantial market size, and early embrace of innovative payment methods such as BNPL.

This lesser-known landscape owes much of its success to a combination of regulatory support and the country’s robust yet somewhat isolated economic structure, he explained.“

When you go to Australia, you really get surprised at how advanced and innovative they are,” he said.

For eCommerce merchants targeting the market, Franco underscored the importance of acknowledging its distinctive payments landscape, which extends beyond BNPL to encompass traditional card payments, electronic fund transfer (EFT) payments, and an array of digital wallets.

As one of the early adopters of contactless payments, Australia has also embraced the faster payments trend, launching the New Payments Platform (NPP) in 2018 to enable consumers and businesses to make near real-time payments on a 24/7 basis.

However, Franco said the speed and adoption of instant payments in Australia will not mirror the extraordinary growth witnessed in countries like Brazil and India, where the Pix and UPI payment systems have facilitated instant payments for large segments of unbanked populations previously unable to transact electronically.

“In Australia, even small merchants already accept [faster electronic] payments, so the need [for real-time payments] is not at the level of markets like India and Brazil,” he noted.

Merchants also frequently view Australia as a key entry point into neighboring New Zealand — another expansion opportunity where Nuvei’s local expertise can be valuable in understanding the unique complexities of each market.“When we talk to merchants about Australia, New Zealand often comes up, but while these two countries share proximity and maturity, their regulatory landscapes differ significantly,” Franco said.The full interview can be read here.

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