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Business trends

Credit cards fall behind in Asia's race to go cashless

Consumers flock to low-cost local mobile apps to meet their payment needs

Credit card companies' reputation for high fees has turned away many potential users in Asia.

TOKYO -- Credit cards are losing out to e-payments as Asia rushes to go cashless, with users who are unwilling or unable to shoulder the high fees associated with cards opting for mobile alternatives.

Credit card penetration remains at 10% or less in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, while mobile payments are used by 47% to 67% of the population in those countries, according to data from the World Bank, Nomura and Japan's economy ministry. In China, where everyday transactions are largely carried out by smartphone, many people grow up without ever seeing a credit card.

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