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Mastercard Research Shows Surge in Digital Payments as E-commerce Reaches New Heights Around the World

Study shows consumers worldwide opting for touch-free, secure and seamless ways to pay

The way we shop is changing. With constraints imposed on our daily lives due to COVID-19, consumers are adopting new payment habits at an accelerated pace, according to a global study by Mastercard conducted in 15 markets. Consumers are increasingly moving away from cash and opting for contact-free and digital payments experiences – and they don’t expect to go back. E-commerce is also seeing a surge, with Mastercard SpendingPulse reporting record growth rates across the globe as consumers increasingly shop online.

As our payment behaviors evolve, two notable trends emerge in our research:

  • In store, a massive move away from cash: Globally, almost seven in 10 consumers say the shift to digital payments will likely be permanent, and nearly half of consumers plan to use cash less, even after the pandemic subsides, according to a Mastercard weekly survey launched April 27.

Since the pandemic began, nearly half (46%) of respondents in Asia Pacific say they are using cash less often, while two-thirds of Latin American consumers say they are using cash less or not at all. In Europe, which already had the largest adoption of contactless payments of any region, 64 percent say tap and pay is now their preferred way to pay in-store.

  • A steep increase in e-commerce: As highlighted in Mastercard’s newly released Recovery Insights: Shift to Digital report, e-commerce has reached new heights. Mastercard SpendingPulse1, which measures retail sales across all payment types including cash and check, shows that United States e-commerce spending grew by 93 percent year-over-year in the month of May. And in April and May, e-commerce as a share of total retail sales reached 33% in the United Kingdom – an unprecedented high (ex. auto, petrol and restaurants). Note that e-commerce follows the Census definition*.

“While no one could have predicted the state of the world we’re in today, it has reinforced the necessity for us to continue evolving the consumer payment experience to meet the consumer wherever they are,” says Jorn Lambert, Executive Vice President, Digital Solutions. “We’ve been focused on building our Digital-First capabilities for years, which have enabled this accelerated shift to digital payments – it’s unlikely consumers will revert to old payment habits.”

Building the Foundation for the Future of Payments

From a simplified online checkout experience to an in-store tap on a contactless terminal, Mastercard is leveraging its insights and technology, forging critical partnerships and driving innovation to ensure a solid foundation to deliver the future of payments.

  • Using non-sensitive data to enhance security: Mastercard Digital Enablement Service (MDES) turns card numbers into tokens that become useless to fraudsters and eliminates the frustration of manually updating your card information. MDES is live with more than 2,600 issuers and 1,200 token requestors, and we’re rapidly adding global players from across the ecosystem, including Adyen, Braintree, a PayPal Service, Etsy, Mercado Libre/Mercado Pago, Mastercard Payment Gateway Services (MPGS), PayPal, Stripe, Thales, T-Mobile, and Checkout to deliver this security at scale.
  • One-click payments to speed checkout: Click to Pay, our one-click checkout experience, uses tokenization to secure your card credentials and makes passwords a thing of the past. Enrollment is being made simple for consumers including Citi’s tens of millions of cardholders in the United States who can now push their card credentials from their banking mobile app to merchants and Click to Pay. More than 10,000 merchants have been enabled for Click to Pay, including Crate & Barrel, Expedia, Fresh Direct and Saks Fifth Avenue. Technology partners such as MPGS are important to enabling acceptance for merchants, and we also work closely with ACI Worldwide, Aurus, Global Payments, and Square.
  • Digital First powers consumer choice: Even before the pandemic, mobile devices have been our primary source of communication, information and, increasingly, commerce. That’s why, instead of merely supporting physical cards with digital experiences, we’ve been focused on designing digital products from the ground up, with the physical card optional. This summer, we’re partnering with Samsung and SoFi to deliver a Digital First debit card backed by a cash management account called Samsung Money by SoFi. We have also launched Digital First programs with Falabella in Latin America, GrabPay in Singapore and the Philippines, Mox by Standard Chartered and WeLab Bank in Hong Kong, and cooperative banks in Germany.

“Amidst an incredibly challenging time for individuals, for communities and for businesses, we’re seeing sparks of change brought upon by the growth of digitally-savvy consumers and businesses embracing technology that will enable a swifter, more secure future,” Lambert added.

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