Chart of the Week July 2, 2021: ASEAN Money Transfer Methods and Usage


Payment behavior is heterogeneous across Southeast Asia, reflecting the region’s diverse and multifaceted population and levels of financial development. This week’s chart dives into payment behavior of individuals across select ASEAN member states. The data is sourced from the Global Findex Database (2017), which is the world’s most comprehensive data set on how adults save, borrow, make payments, and manage risk. The chart records all methods of money transfer employed by individuals when sending/receiving remittances and when paying utility bills in the past 12 months.  


  • For domestic remittances, which record money transfer between people, formal financial institutions are the primary intermediary throughout ASEAN. This method of transfer is most prevalent in Malaysia (76.2%) and Thailand (73.6%), and is the least popular in Cambodia (25.9%) and the Philippines (26.6%). Nevertheless, this method is either the first or second most popular choice in each country. 
  • Money transfer services oversee the bulk of remittance flows in Cambodia (42.6%) and the Philippines (43.9%), and is the least popular in Singapore (4.8%) and Malaysia (7.0%). 
  • For utility payments, which record money transfers from people to businesses, formal financial institutions constitute as the main intermediary for individuals from Singapore (79.1%) and Malaysia (57.4%), but constitute as a small and negligible proportion in most lower-middle income countries. 
  • Payments via cash remain the most prevalent method of payment in all the lower-middle income countries and Thailand. It is the near universal method in Myanmar (98.7%), Lao PDR (96.9%), and the Philippines (95.0%). 

Article By Wen Chong CHEAH

Graphic By Yixuan GE

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