Mastercard has released the results of a global survey that suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the adoption of contactless payments. An astonishing 79 percent of the respondents confirmed that they are now using contactless payments, with many citing safety as their primary motivation for doing so. To that end, 82 percent of the respondents agreed that contactless transactions were cleaner than contact-based alternatives like cash.
While the transition to contactless payments is at least partly a response to unexpected external factors, Mastercard believes that the trend will continue beyond the end of the pandemic. People are already becoming more comfortable with the technology, with the vast majority (74 percent) of respondents indicating that they will still use contactless payments after COVID-19 has passed. The majority (52 percent) of those over the age of 35 have already made a contactless card the top payment option in their wallet.
The Mastercard survey reflects the feedback of 17,000 consumers from 19 countries around the world.
“Social distancing does not just concern people’s interactions with each other; it includes contact with publicly shared devices like point of sale terminals and checkout counters,” said Mastercard EVP and Head of Acceptance Solutions Blake Rosenthal. “Contactless offers a safer way to pay, speed at checkout, and more control over physical proximity.”
Of course, Mastercard has been a longtime advocate of contactless payments, and has encouraged payment providers in countries like Canada to raise their contactless payment caps during the pandemic. The company noted that the contactless trend has been particularly pronounced in grocery stores and drug stores, where the number of contactless transactions grew at double the rate of contact-based transactions in February and March.
Mastercard recently certified a biometric payment card from Thales. FPC provided the fingerprint sensor for that card, and has similarly argued that biometric technology will enable higher payment caps and further the mass adoption of contactless payments.