By Scott Thompson
Consumers in the Middle East and Poland are keener on new payment technologies than those in the UK/Ireland, Germany and Australia.
Research commissioned by First Data Corporation and included within a whitepaper entitled Payment Methods: What Do International Consumers Want, Need and Expect? looks at consumer desire for traditional and emerging payment methods in Australia, Germany, the Middle East, Poland, and the UK/Ireland. Findings include:
Cash remains king: Despite the growth of debit and credit, cash is still the most frequently used method of payment with 46 percent of survey respondents collectively stating this as their preferred method. It is the most commonly used in the Middle East (by 66 per cent of consumers) and Germany (58 per cent), while in Poland, it is used as frequently as debit cards (both 44 per cent). Only in the UK/Ireland and Australia is cash used less frequently, where debit (39 per cent) and credit (37 per cent) respectively are the most common payment methods.
Contactless payment adoption has been sluggish in all countries. While contactless payments have been available for several years in the countries surveyed ownership of cards is very low. However, coupled with the likelihood of using a contactless card if they had one, the Middle East (70 per cent) and Poland (57 per cent) showed the greatest appetite for the technology, with Germany (31 per cent) and the UK/Ireland (26 per cent) lagging in comparison. More than half of respondents collectively had security concerns; however, 70 per cent suggested they would consider making contactless payments once it is accepted by at least 40 per cent of merchants.
Mobile payments are expected to prevail in most countries, but security concerns remain. The likelihood of using a mobile device to make payments is highest in the Middle East (58 per cent) with Poland suggesting a similar appetite (51 per cent). In contrast consumers in the UK/Ireland (25 per cent) and Germany (30 per cent) indicate more reticence. Security concerns remain a barrier to adoption across the board with respondents most fearful of payment information being compromised (68 per cent) and losing their mobile phone (64 per cent).
Mobile wallet appeal is driven by apps beyond payments. Consumers in all markets expressed interest in using a mobile wallet and mobile apps to not only pay for products/services but also for everyday expenditures, such as travel, and memberships. While Polish respondents showed the greatest propensity to use a mobile wallet straight away (32 per cent) all markets indicated a ‘wait and see approach’, suggesting they will eventually move to mobile wallets once they are generally accepted and available (Germany 60 per cent, Middle East 74 per cent, Poland 61 per cent, UK/Ireland 51 per cent). Banks are the trusted and preferred provider for the mobile wallet. More than half of all international consumers would choose their bank as their mobile wallet provider, followed by PayPal, which was chosen by just 12 per cent of respondents. Similar to contactless cards, security concerns remain a barrier with nearly three quarters of consumers fearing their payment information would be compromised or that they would lose their phone.
John Elkins, president, First Data International Regions, comments: “Consumers in the Middle East and Poland clearly have a strong appetite for new ways to pay for their goods. Indeed we could well see these markets leapfrog contactless and go straight to mobile payments. For merchants in these countries the message is clear – consumers want these technologies now. In contrast there is clearly more work to be done to allay security fears in the UK/Ireland, Germany and Australia where acquirers and merchants need to continue to promote the benefits of contactless and mobile. Breeding familiarity will lead to a growth in usage, and ultimately allow both consumers and merchants to benefit from faster check out and convenience.”