As nations put limitations into place to support social distancing in February and March, Mastercard reported that a significant share of consumers tapped into contactless payments for purchases. Seventy-nine percent of respondents in a global study indicated that they are now tapping into contactless payments, pointing to cleanliness and safety as crucial drivers. According to an announcement, the firm’s consumer polling illustrates “accelerated and sustained contactless adoption.”
Blake Rosenthal, executive vice president of Mastercard Acceptance Solutions, said in the announcement, “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. Contactless offers consumers a safer, cleaner way to pay, speed at checkout, and more control over physical proximity at this critical time.”
Almost half of the respondents – 46 percent – throughout the world have swapped out their top-of-wallet card for a card that provides contactless functionality. The share rises to 52 percent among those who are younger than 35 years of age. And more than eight in 10 – or 82 percent – of respondents see contactless as a cleaner method of payment, while contactless payments are up to 10 times quicker than other in-person methods.
Additionally, roughly three-quarters – or 74 percent – of respondents note they will keep tapping into contactless after the pandemic. Data from Mastercard also points to over 40 percent growth in contactless transactions around the world in Q1 2020, while 80 percent of contactless transactions are less than $25 – a range that cash usually dominates.
As previously reported, the U.K. Finance trade association announced in March that Britain would increase the contactless pay limit to £45 from £15 in response to COVID-19, which has sent waves of disruption through global economies as individuals are encouraged to stop going out, and sectors of the public sphere have shuttered to try to stop the virus from spreading.