Payments in Asia is a Royal Pain in the Ass

So you’re a developer in Asia and you want to do payments online. You’ve been checking out the news and can’t wait to get started with shiny new API’s like stripe and brain tree. Great! Except that you probably can’t.


Currently Stripe is US and Canada only (from the FAQ, you will need a US or Canadian bank account, SSN or SIN, address, and–if filing as a company–EIN or BN). That said, we are working very hard to expand (but don’t have any definite timelines just yet). – Link

Balanced Payments

Sellers/merchants must reside in the US, have a US mailing address and a US bank account. Buyers can reside in nearly all countries and use any Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover card (debit and credit). – Link

Brain Tree

International credit card processing just got a lot easier, and smarter. Online companies domiciled in the EU, Australia and Canada can now use Braintree to launch, support and scale their businesses, just like their US counterparts. – Link

With Authorize.Net you can accept international transactions from customers worldwide. However, your bank must be based in the United States, Canada, or United Kingdom. To process payments in additional currencies, please see our CyberSource Advanced Solution. – Link


We require your Social Security Number to verify your identity and to comply with state and federal regulations.  WePay does not run credit checks on any of our users, so signing up for a WePay account will not impact your credit score.  Your SSN and Tax ID will only be reported to the IRS in the event that you collect more than $20,000 and 200 payments in the calendar year.  Check out our article on 1099-K reporting for more information on that.  – Link

The current incumbent, Paypal, is doing themselves no favours by routinely freezing legitimate accounts. From smashing violins, t0 ebay loopholes, no wonder Max Levchin is starting a new payments startup. But for us startups and SME’s in Asia (or Singapore where I’m from), Paypal Standard is pretty much the only option. For some reason, Paypal Pro isn’t offered in Singapore but that’s a separate point.

For most US/EU/CA customers, there are options outside of Paypal. For the rest of us, all we can do is twiddle our thumbs and look enviously at our western counterparts. Realistically, Paypal offers the fastest integration, no questions asked, approach. Well, you could go to the bank and setup a merchant account. Hahaha, good one.

How about payment gateways like worldpay? Well, to be honest, that’s a very viable alternative. You just have to wade through endless documentation to get something going. How do I know? I implemented one a while back. Also, they charge more.

Well, from what I know of, there are still a few more options available. I have not tried them so I’m not sure of the costs or integration process involved. If you’ve integrated with these guys before, do share your experience!

But really, can someone please start a stripe-for-asia? That would be great, thanks.


Recently came to know about Xfers, they seem promising in offering seamless internet banking payments.

Update 2

Braintree is in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Joy~!


15 thoughts on “Payments in Asia is a Royal Pain in the Ass

  1. I agree. By the way you can use 2checkout in Asia to take credit cards. PayPal – so long as you are verified and go for a business account you should be ok (and they take credit cards also).

    You also have world pay and payza – and if yuou can get a merchant account have an Asian offering (i forget what it’s called).

    If you find anything else let me know – i’m pretty stuck myself in this topic.

    • 2checkout looks very good! Thanks for that. Have you deployed in a production setting before? How was it?

      Getting a merchant account is like a whole new world of pain haha.

      • Yeah – i’ve used it for over a year (i’m in Hong Kong).
        However the fees are quite steep and they are quite strict with what you can and can’t do. But it’s hooked up to my HK bank account and i receive money regularly (they pay out weekly).

        I really want to find some options – something that might plug into WooCommerce but i’m struggling. Perhaps there’s a huge gap in the market OR perhaps the Asian governments just do not want people making money from the internet.

        By the way i found your post whilst searching for info on Strip in Asia 🙂 I think it will be a while to we see it here – they withdrew it from the UK so it’s still US and Canada only for now.

        If you find a solution please let me know.

    • Hey Steve – am also based in HK and pretty much stuck re this topic. looking at 2checkout but indeed very strict…. also lookong at paypal but very steep!

  2. Also – there is a version of PayPal Pro in Asia – it’s called PayPal Payments Pro however it’s hosted on PP’s servers (though you can skin it yourself)… however if you are not a developer setting it up is a pain (i’ve yet to find a Payment gateway service that will plug into it)

  3. Hey Nai,

    Great article. I have been trying to find effective solutions for online payment gateways too.
    One that supports recurring payments. Have you managed to dig out better solutions out there?

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