Nagesh Devata is the vice president for US-based fintech firm Payoneer in the APAC region, based in Singapore. He brings over 25 years of international and regional experience in the fintech industry where he has held senior positions at global payment firms including Mastercard and PayPal.
KrASIA (Kr): How has payment infrastructure evolved in the past 25 years?
Nagesh Devata (ND): When I first started out with Mastercard, the concept of automatic payments was still regarded as physical transactions. It was domestic, and didn’t entail cross-border payments. The transformation that I’ve seen happen in payment was experimental and innovative. We’ve evolved to this entirely digital experience, one that’s constantly trying to have as few human touch points as possible. Cross-border payments have changed the dynamics of businesses. Small businesses are now not just limited to their own domestic customers.
Kr: Are digital payments in Southeast Asia progressing as quickly as you hope?
ND: With COVID-19, the adoption of digital payments grew exponentially. However, it’s not without its challenges, mainly centered around financial inclusion. There are huge numbers of consumers in Southeast Asia that need to have access to find new products and services. They’re either underbanked or don’t have opportunities to access the right product to sell—not just for cross-border markets, but even to participate in their own domestic economy. The challenge with Southeast Asia is that it’s a dispersed group of markets, and they’re all very different economically, socially, and politically from a regulatory perspective.
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