Contactless payments are now mainstream, especially in Asia Pacific

contactless payments
Image credit | BrianAJackson

Contactless payments and mobile payments in general have been on a sustained growth curve for the last few years. Some years ago, articles appeared that even suggested that we are looking at the end of cash.

A cashless society, even two years ago, would have been a daring prediction. Now, it is a dead certainty. Even in rural areas, where cash was king for generations, mobile and contactless payments are prevalent.

Data from Mastercard has revealed a 40% global increase in the use of contactless payments since the pandemic started, citing safety, security and speed as reasons. Obviously the main range of transaction value is at the low end, where cash used to dominate but as security on smartphones becomes more robust, that value will go up. Transactions in the hundreds of dollars are not uncommon and now ceilings for low value payments has been doubled in some instances. It makes sense from all angles.

For a while, South Korea was incinerating cash to ensure it was not a carrier for the disease. Even three years ago, India removed 85% of the cash ‘in circulation’ in a shock cash-reform move.

Mastercard reports that growth in contactless payments doubled across the board and saw growth of 2.5 times across Asia Pacific.

What is, perhaps, unsurprising is that the pandemic has given a boost to a solution that was already on an upward trajectory. 75% of Asia Pacific respondents said that they would continue to use contactless payments once the pandemic has passed.

In another survey, this time by Rapyd, it turns out that the number of people using banking services and apps across the Asia Pacific region is higher than previously thought. 80% of people say they have a savings account and a debit card they use regularly.

The take up of eWallets has also exploded, with 77.6% of Indians, 77.4% of Malaysians, and 70.2% of Indonesians using an e-wallet in the last month.

We therefore, with some sadness, reverse our view, held for many years. The days of cash are numbered (why would you dig about for dirty money when you can tap and go) and the days contactless payments are well and truly here.

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