Mastercard has released a new report that suggests that merchants will need to embrace new payment options if they want to stay in good standing with consumers. The report is based on a survey of 15,569 consumers from 18 countries around the world, and found that 84 percent of those individuals expect to able to use their preferred payment method whenever and wherever they complete a purchase.
At the same time, those consumers are becoming increasingly open to a wider array of payment options. The survey found that the overwhelming majority (93 percent) will at least consider using a new, emerging payment method within the next 12 months, while 63 percent have already tried a new payment method that they would not have considered if not for the pandemic. In that regard, COVID-19 created a surging interest in digital and contactless payment methods as lockdowns pushed people away from physical transactions, with Mastercard reporting that there were 1 billion more contactless transactions in the first quarter of 2021 than there were in the same period the year before.
That trend is likely to continue moving forward. Seventy-one percent of consumers indicated that they will use cash less frequently in the future, while more than half went so far as to say that they would avoid businesses that do not support electronic payments. That creates more urgency for businesses that will need to adapt in order to meet that new demand.
The payment options that people are turning to include cryptocurrencies, biometrics, and QR codes, in addition to more basic contactless technologies. By the numbers, 70 percent of the respondents expect to use a contactless card sometime in 2021, while 40 percent plan to use cryptocurrencies (and 67 percent are more open to them). Meanwhile, most respondents (60 percent) now believe that biometrics are a more secure authentication option than a PIN.
There was also strong support for QR codes in the Asia Pacific region in particular, with roughly three-quarters of the population believing that QR codes are cleaner and more convenient than cash. Overall, the number of card-not-present transactions was up more than 30 percent, while nearly 90 percent of all in-person transactions are now made with a merchant that supports contactless technologies.
The new survey arrives a few weeks after a separate Mastercard report that found that online spending was up $900 billion in 2020. The company had previously tracked a $53 billion spike in the months immediately following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States.