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The growth of digital economies, accelerated by COVID-19, has transformed many industry sectors as consumers, businesses, and government agencies adopt digital technologies and applications. Throughout 2020, lockdowns greatly impacted the daily operations of several vertical industries and limited access to different types of goods and services. Moreover, as fear of the pandemic spread, people began to increasingly rely on digital channels to fulfil their needs.

This includes digital solutions for making online payments; whether it is to pay for online groceries, receive an online government grant, borrow money online, or pay and receive for goods from abroad. Digital transactions form an integral foundation and enabler of digital trade, and hence should be capitalised upon by both governments and the private sector to drive digital trade developments more coherently across ASEAN Member States (AMS).

This report presents on-the-ground evidence of digital transactions, highlighting the variety of ways in which public- and private-sector organisations are innovating and developing and implementing policies, regulations, and initiatives across industries at national, regional, and international levels. The report examines key technologies and infrastructure making their way into ASEAN-level discussions, identifying the areas in which ASEAN can help facilitate fast, interoperable, and seamless digital transactions, as well as promote real-time payment readiness and adoption within AMS.

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