Zurich, June 28 2021 – The hype around contactless plastic money is no longer dedicated to Europe alone. It is an international phenomenon. A global tour reveals stunning developments in the world of digital payments, putting paper money into museums rather than into wallets and pockets.
It is said that in China, one can travel hundreds of kilometres without touching a single banknote. The country where paper money was invented during the Tang dynasty in the 7th century has taken a lead in non-cash payments as applications for the smartphone such as WeChat, Tencent Pay, or Ali Pay. Some retail outlets like Luckin Coffee only accept digital payments at their thousands of coffee shops across China.
Another country which played a pioneer role in printing on paper is Germany where in 1440 the goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press has long been shying away from e-payments due to security issues. However, the risk of getting infected with Sars-CoV2 boosted contactless payments. Consumers paying contactless with credit card, debit card, smartphone, or Apple Watch, at least once in the last three months (March – April 2021) rose to 85%, up from 79% in the period September – November, according to a study done by Berlin-based Bitkom, the German digital association.
In neighbouring Switzerland, also a cash loving region dubbed “the safe of the world”, credit card payments were more popular in contactless pay than debit cards (during the period November – December 2020). Cash payments, on the other hand, fell by 10%.
With many people travelling this summer for the first time in a year (or even more), may will be surprised how non-necessary exchanging cash at money exchanges will be due to the broad array of digital pay options thanks to mobile payment terminals at airports, contactless door keys at fancy hotels, or touchless entry tickets via QR codes on smartphones to go clubbing.
Take the United Kingdom where in 2020 nine out of ten payments contactless. The second economy of Europe also witnessed a 29% increase in contactless pay in grocery stores in 2020, computerweekly.com has reported. While paying by card became second nature at home and abroad, travelling remains sticky (speaking with British understatement). Portugal was only accessible for tourists from the UK for two weeks, before in early June it was labelled a “amber list” country. Apropos Portugal: In Lisbon the supermarket retailer Continente Labs has opened its first shops where consumers can buy goods without any cashier as 230 cameras check the clients’ purchases through a QR code on their smartphones, Le Parisien has reported.
Travelers who arrive from Portugal to the UK have to quarantine for 10 days at home following the compulsory (and hopefully negative) PCR test on arrival. Coming from the UAE where Emirati billionaire Mohamed Alabbar, the man behind the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa (828m), just launched the country’s first digital bank called “Zand”, to London is even worse as passengers have to quarantine themselves for 10 days in a pre-appointed airport hotel for 10 days at their own costs for a whopping 1,750.- pounds per person. For this amount, one can easily spend a few days off at the beach abroad. A negative PCR test is compulsory to leave the hotel.
Only a few countries remain on the UK’s “green list”, Singapore being one of them. More than half of Singaporeans use mobile contactless pay – VISA study. “Contactless card payments continue to be the most popular option, with 84 per cent of Singapore respondents using this mode of payment. The trend is even higher amongst Generation Y respondents at 92 percent”.
But you don’t have to travel that far to feel the pulse of the digital future. In Spain, 7 out of 10 (67%) of the users surveyed who currently make mobile payments indicate they are using this method more since the pandemic began. In Greece, according to a survey by PayPal in June 2020 the pandemic had encouraged six of 10 Greeks to use new contactless payments. It also saw 43 percent of Greeks aged 65 and older avoiding cash. The virus saw more payments shift online.
Or take the Italian city of Brescia which at the end of May as the first city in Italy introduced contactless payment services across its entire bus fleet, which carries approximately 40 million passengers annually, smartcities.com has reported. “Brescia Mobilità’s goal is to meet the needs of our riders and to make Brescia’s integrated mobility system increasingly accessible and in line with the highest European standards,” the article quoted Marco Medeghini, general manager at Brescia Mobilità.
- Similar developments have been emerging in Egypt which slowly revives its tourism business. A Mastercard Study shows Arab region consumers moving to contactless payments.
- There’s no way back
- “With the pandemic ongoing, 84% agreed that contactless payment is a cleaner way to pay, with 79% saying contactless payment methods have been easy to adopt. Contactless payments are up to 10 times faster than other in-person payment methods, enabling customers to move in and out of stores faster,” Daily News Egypt has reported.
Contactless payments are on the rise in the U.S. with Americans using various touch-free payment methods that are cleaner than paying with cash amid the coronavirus. This comes as 51% of consumers in God’s own country say they are using cash less often or not at all since the pandemic began.
More than nine in 10 consumers (93%) will consider using digital payment methods including contactless, QR code and biometric payments as well as cryptocurrency transactions in the next year, according to a Mastercard survey. Cash options are looking more and more anachronistic and are melting away like ice in the sunshine. Wherever you go this summer, contactless payment options are here to stay. ***
About the author:
Fabio Carvalho is a Digital Marketing Specialist at CCV Switzerland. Former professional soccer player at FC Lausanne-Sport. He studied Politics, Marketing and Communication at the Universities of Lausanne and the London School of Business and Finance. He speaks German, French, English, Spanish and Portuguese.
About CCV Switzerland:
In Switzerland we are the leading acquiring-independent provider of payment infrastructure such as payment terminals, cash registers, customer loyalty and shopping card systems. Together with our partners, terminal manufacturers, cash register manufacturers and dealer banks (acquirers), we offer you customized solutions for the best shopping experience for your customers. If you want to find out more, please click on https://www.ccv.eu/ch-de/
Source: CCV Switzerland
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