Study: COVID-19 concerns drive up contactless credit card payments worldwide

The global COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many changes to consumer behaviours driven by safety concerns and it seems a rise in contactless payment may be one such example.

Mastercard has conducted a survey about contactless payment, evaluating consumer behaviours in 19 countries around the world about accelerated and sustained contactless adoption in February and March, as COVID-19 drove social distancing measures worldwide. 

In Q1 2020 MasterCard’s data showed 40% growth in global contactless transactions global transactions, with more than 80% of transactions totalling under US$25, a range typically dominated by cash. What's more, out of the 80% of the respondents that said they had used contactless payments, 79% of respondents worldwide and 91% of respondents in Asia Pacific said they were now using tap-and-go payments because of concerns regarding safety and cleanliness.

Asked whether they would use contactless payments after the pandemic, 74% of global respondents and 75% of Asia Pacific respondents stated they would indeed continue using contactless payments after the pandemic.

Sheer confidence in contactless payment has also increased. As COVID-19 increases concerns about cash usage, the majority of global respondents (82%) view contactless as the cleaner way to pay, with 80% of Asia Pacific respondents saying the same. Contactless payments are notably up to 10 times faster than other in-person payment methods, enabling customers to get in and out of stores faster.

“Mastercard’s survey shows a clear shift to contactless – especially in Asia Pacific – as COVID-19 changes the payments landscape and the way people shop now and in the future. The fact that three in four people intended to keep using tap-and-go after the pandemic is a strong sign that consumers see the long-term benefits of having a safer, cleaner way to pay, checking out faster and being more socially responsible," said Sandeep Malhotra, executive vice president, products and innovation, Asia Pacific at Mastercard.

Users were also reported to be physically moving their contactless cards to the top of their wallets. Perceptions of safety and convenience have spurred a preference for contactless cards and reminded consumers about the ease of tapping. Globally, 46% of respondents had swapped their top-of-wallet card for one that offered contactless. In Asia Pacific, 51% of people had made the swap.


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