Mastercard Study Shows Consumers Globally Make the Move to Contactless Payments for Everyday Purchases, Seeking Touch-Free Payment Experiences

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During February and March, as many countries imposed necessary restrictions on social distancing, a significant majority of consumers turned to contactless card payments for necessary purchases. 79 percent of respondents worldwide say they are now using contactless payments, citing safety and cleanliness as key drivers. Consumer polling by Mastercard, studying changing consumer behaviors in 19 countries around the world, paints a picture of accelerated and sustained contactless adoption.

“Contactless offer consumers a safer, cleaner way to pay, speed at checkout, and more control over physical proximity at this critical time.”

The act of running to the store for eggs, toilet paper, medicine and other necessities has changed dramatically. Shoppers around the world have had to adjust to social distancing measures and other new challenges when buying everyday supplies for their families and loved ones. This shift in consumer behavior is particularly clear at checkout, as people express a desire for contactless and voice concerns over cleanliness and safety at the point of sale, according to the new Mastercard study. In fact, findings show:

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  • Contactless Move to Top of Wallet – Perceptions of safety and convenience have spurred a preference for contactless cards and reminded consumers of the convenience of tapping on a global scale. Globally, nearly half of respondents (46 percent) have swapped out their top-of-wallet card for one that offers contactless – this proportion climbs to 52 percent among those under 35 years old.
  • Confidence in Contactless The global disruption has led to increased concern from consumers on cash usage and positive perceptions towards contactless due to the peace of mind that it provides. The majority of respondents (82 percent) view contactless as the cleaner way to pay, and contactless payments are up to 10 times faster than other in-person payment methods, enabling customers to get in and out of stores faster.
  • Contactless is Here to Stay –We are in a sustained period in which consumers are making purchases in a very focused way; it’s reinforcing contactless use in markets where adoption is more mature, and it’s stimulating use in newer markets. This trend appears to be here to stay as approximately three quarters (74 percent) state they will continue to use contactless post-pandemic.

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“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 Blake Rosenthal, Executive Vice President and Head of Mastercard Acceptance Solutions. “Contactless offer consumers a safer, cleaner way to pay, speed at checkout, and more control over physical proximity at this critical time.”

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